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Best Friends

A Slam Poem About Body Image

Woman Looking at Reflection --- Image by © Elisa Lazo de Valdez/Corbis

Body image is everywhere in our world. From social media to billboards to magazines. Showing us how we’re supposed to look; how much we’re supposed to weigh. It’s hard to ignore these voices in this day and age and sometimes, people worldwide develop an unhealthy relationship with this voice.

They look each other up and down.
Too much here
Too much there.
Dissecting and analyzing and picking apart until she comes to the conclusion that it’s all too much.
He tells her he can help.
He fills her head with the fantasies of protruding bones and shiny laxatives and losing.
Losing is winning.
He tells her the only deepthroating that’s sexy is her fingers scratching her uvula.
That the only breasts worth looking at are the ones that aren’t there.
She listens.
He tricks her into believing if her thighs don’t touch she’s worth something, that the only parts of her body that should bulge are her eye sockets and her ribcage, that she should spend more time running miles than sleeping.
She begins to thin and decay until she’s frail and pale and fading away into a shadow of her former self and it’s still not enough.
He whispers in her ear, sweet suggestions like, “Just a bit farther, just a bit longer” until one day she wakes up and realizes she’s forgotten what her favorite food is and what it’s like to laugh so hard milk comes out of your nose because God knows she wouldn’t come anywhere near a glass of it.
Her family desperately cries out to her and warn that she is going to die.
It sounds like a sweet release.
She is tired. She is so tired.
Doubt begins to flood through her and flows over the self-hatred and desire.
What am I doing?
A small voice comes back disguised as her friends and loved ones.
They speak words of confidence into her life until a tiny part of her begins to believe.
She wants to fight back.
She stops running.
She starts nourishing her body that has been through so much.
He fights back.
He screams and yells that she can only trust him, that he’s the only one that’s there for her, that she needs him, that he loves her.
But he lies.
And she knows it now.
No.
There’s so much more out there than just calories and numbers and tape measurers, there’s a world of color and life and light that comes from a sun that rises and shines every morning no matter how bad she screws up and she is a masterpiece that glows from within and he will not take her down today or tomorrow, maybe yesterday, but never again.
His voice begins to fade.
He’s still there, he’ll always be there.
Whispering in the back of her mind, stirring up doubt in herself, but she’s too strong for that now.
Her backbone is infused with metal and will not bend or break.
She is a flower that is still blooming from the inside out, no longer the dead ones within that were doused with formaldehyde and made her smell of death anywhere she went.
Her eyes shine with the brightness of youth.
Her hair cascades in a long, unbroken stream and no more fraying ends.
She stands up to him and likes what she sees, for once.
She reaches out and puts a fist through his glass face, shattering the mirror that has always haunted her.

What do you think?

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Written by Anna Stornello

though she be but little, she is fierce.

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