I was eleven when I first heard the words “Real women have curves”.
And so, at eleven, it was also the first time I realized that, unfortunately, I am not real.
But the thing was, I wanted to be real.
So I forced myself to eat more to the point my stomach ached. I’d wear baggy clothes to hide how thin I was. And when I’d go out to buy new ones, I’d always walk quickly because I was ashamed, because after all, everyone should “say no to size zero”.
It didn’t work. It never worked.
When I took off my clothes in the girls’ locker room everyone else would laugh and point at my obvious ribs and small breasts. And I’d see pictures of Marilyn Monroe being compared to pictures of girls who looked like me all over the internet, all the comments telling me that I was a shame to the human race.
Because who would ever find me beautiful, who would ever find me worth the chase, who would ever love me, a girl with no curves, a girl that just isn’t real?
So as I grew older, I kept at it. I kept stuffing myself with food I never wanted to see again for the rest of my life. I kept hiding my figure with fabric and padding and oversized jackets. I kept crying and crying and pushing away the men who told me they loved me. They possibly couldn’t love me. Because I am not real.
And then the day came I looked in the mirror with a blade in my hands. Because I decided I was just not worth the stupidly small space I was taking up.
But I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it because it was in that moment I realized that yes, I am real.
I may wear size zero clothing, I may barely fill out an A-cup, I may have a “distasteful flat ass”, I may have ribs that stick out like mountains, but by god I laugh, I smile, I cry, I feel, I envy, I lust, I love, I hate, and I am real and I am a woman.
Never again will I look in a magazine and tear out my hair instead of the pages I should’ve burned long ago. Never again will I bind the definition of my being with a tape measure wrapped around my waist. Never again will I judge how much love I can allow myself to drown in by how much I fill out a bra.
Because I am not a number. I am not the men who whistle and shout at me with disdain. I am not a do or don’t in an article, on a billboard.
I am me, and it’s time I start loving that."