I think I may have written a poem or two over the last ten years, probably in list form, but this is the first full fledged poem that just poured out of me at once. So I consider it my first.
To Any of the Many, in my life or yours, who’ve said something to this effect…
I would love you, you said, even if you got bigger…
you meant well. you meant you’d love me no matter my size
you meant you loved my personality and my insides
but I heard two words that marred your message
Two words that tell me that, in your world, bigger is standing behind the rope having to wait for entry. And you’re feeling proud, patting yourself on the back, for being so kind as to let it in.
You say it’s not like that, but let me remind you…
You’d love me if I were bigger, you said, but that time I tried to hook your best friend up with mine, you turned to him and said “She’s a nice girl, but you don’t want that,” with a wink I’ll never forget. And he laughed and said, “Oh, so she’s big!”
And I thought, why yes, she is.
Big is her smile.
Big is her heart.
Big is her vision and the energy she unrolls before her when she walks into a room is like a red carpet of joy that sometimes knocks me on my ass. In awe.
I am big. Or thin. Depending on which state I’m in, literally, and depending on the size of the other women around me at that particular moment, and depending on the mood I’m in.
Forget you. I hear my own thoughts, angry, disappointed, deafening thoughts.
I forgive you, because I’m afflicted too.
I ride the weight-gain-train of disgust that so many girls and women in this culture do. There are times it dies down and there is a calm peace in my body and a release from judgement. The train has run out of coal to fuel it, because I’ve stopped letting men give me their fucking opinions about my body, stopped looking at magazines and thrown a towel over my mirror. I feel weightless.
But then sometimes I’m caught of guard, when I see a photo of myself, the way my friend did tonight, and “hate my arms,” and want to carve the fat from my thighs, and I begin to silently, and viciously, tear myself down. Like a well-trained slave, I go and schlep myself to the mine and shovel the coal myself into the engine of the machine that wants to flatten me.
In that moment, and in hers, I want to say:
Big is my smile.
Big is my heart.
Big is my gift.
Big is my reach.
Big is my presence when I walk in a room.
Big, is the way I love.
And, Wiiiiiddeee, .
Wide are my hips, the way a woman’s are meant to be,
Carrying between them a Universe
and wide are my ribs, as my breath rises and falls
because I take every ounce of life in
Wide are my thoughts and wide are my visions
And wide is the wake that I leave behind me when I go.
I am an expanse. I am a “big” that you’ve told yourself (and now me) that you’ve allowed, and accepted, when, in truth, you have no choice, and you’re just grasping for control, because my bigness has made you aware of just how small you are.