Once you label me you negate me. —Soren Kierkegaard
I wasn’t a fat kid. On the contrary, I was hollowed ribs and lanky limbs for much of my childhood. I was gangly elbows and knee caps too big for my legs. I was a jawline cut straight and tight like a razor’s edge and the wasting that comes from sickness and hospitals and appetites lost.
I don’t remember this thinness. I’ve only ever seen it in pictures looking back. I couldn’t see it then.
Here is my truth. When my brother and I walked to school in the mornings, I made sure to lag behind him and his friends because I feared the size of my shadow. I thought I was fat. I thought I was dirty. I thought I was wretched. I was five.
I wish I could gather up that little girl in my arms, birdlike and fragile lying on her stomach, feet in the air and chin propped in her tiny hand as she fingered the pages of her favorite book always dreaming of others’ stories so she wouldn’t have to live through her own. I wish I could tell her she’s known and loved and called. I wish I could tell her she isn’t what they say.
I wish her name was full on her tiny lips, the bold vowels and consonants ricocheting off her mirrored self, telling the truth of who she is.