I remember being seven and hoping, praying that this was just forgotten, misplaced baby fat that would dissolve from my body like it had for the other girls. being nine and overhearing boys talk about the developing body I tried to hide under folded arms. ten and going on my first diet. twelve and kneeling on cold bathroom tiles and feeling my heartbeat in my head because someone called me fat. thirteen and trimming images out of magazines, adhering photos of plasticized bodies to pages of a journal filled with numbers and measurements, poring over the words of girls who knew how to empty their bodies until only skin cloaked their bones. fourteen and listening to the weight of my feet hitting the treadmill, sweat beading and tears pooling and hands shaking. sixteen and conscientiously separating my worth from my body and never letting the two touch. nineteen and avoiding mirrors and feigning indifference. twenty-one and having a bout of anxiety with my back pressed against a fitting room wall of a store where nothing will stretch to fit the span of my hips and I can’t cry because my friends are outside. twenty-two and I can’t eat because he’s looking at me and I can’t even look at me.
and now I am twenty-three and I can still hear the deafening reverberation of every label that’s ever been slapped across my body. every name, every overheard word. even the fumbled phrases mistaken for compliments.
so pretty if you’d lose some weight,
so pretty for a fat girl,
you know, some boys are into that.
the obvious presumption being that I existed merely to be looked at, admired. and I believed that, and based my fears upon it. every time I’d glance at my body and see cellulite, folds, divots . every time I stood in front of the mirror and pulled at my clothing until my eyes glazed over and I only saw shapes. but here I am at twenty-three, and I am learning to throw off every notion of living to be something to look at. to only be something pretty. I will not settle for pretty. I will exist to be kind and soft and strong and brave and smart and tender. I will not be the art. I will be the artist.
This was honestly the most fun I’ve ever had on a shoot. I was surrounded by my friends who were hardworking and willing to venture out in the cold weather to make this whole thing come together. I was lucky enough to have total control over the shoot and get published in Trim Magazine, which was a huge honor. This was by far one of the best memories I have of my first year at SVA. I am slowly but surely coming closer to achieving my dreams! Cheers, xx