I’m the kid on the left, my best friend Debbie on the right, my parents in back. In another life my mother might be casting her eyes on us but in this one she’s looking off, good at being somewhere else. My father, cigarette in hand, looks directly at the camera and I’d have to say he looks more pleasant than he usually does in photos. My friend Debbie is with us, like me she is more relaxed with my parents, I with hers.
My face is screwed up. It’ll get more so. The shorts I’m wearing are my favorite and they are my sister’s – who wore them in high school. I’m seven and about to grow out of them. My mother has been telling me how old my sister was when she wore them. I know this – I know how old she was and I know how old she is and I know how my mother feels about my body. I know it very well.
I don’t have many photos after this. I grew heavy and the heavier I got the more my parents commented and looked at me and watched me eat and scowled. But they weren’t always there, in fact they were extremely self-involved and really didn’t show up all that much. And in their absence I ate. In my joy I ate. In my sorrow I ate. And they strained themselves with their glowering looks, we danced in a sea of self absorption, taking everything personally, treading heavily on what we knew best; our own discomfort with ourselves.
This is how stuff like that gets passed down. A conscious absorption/obsession with what doesn’t matter, with difference, with what we think others think. Who cares? Don’t let another minute go by without loving yourself, without believing that what surrounds you is right-sized and beautiful just as it is.
I helped myself by making some drawings and poems. Here’s one:
Body Mine 3
The matter of my body.
What’s the matter with my body?
Matter is form, form is not matter.
Shape, substance, weight, volume,
Space, distance, time don’t matter.
Here on this blessed page.
The wondrous elements of light and dark
Are all that matter.
I can control my contortions, my
Proportions, distortions. Nothing’s
The matter with my body.