My body has been sneakily co-opted, labeled, taken away from me. The version that is handed blankly back has all the usual notes scribbled across its surface. “Not quite right,” “Bulky,” “Could be better executed.” “Missing a certain natural beauty.” I am missing a certain natural beauty, even though this is what I naturally am. I am missing myself. When did the theft occur?
The other day a man wrote to me to tell me that I shouldn’t worry—I’m not that ugly, men don’t care. Thanks (not really), but that’s not the point. My disappointment with my appearance, and the squirming, insistent anxiety that I didn’t look right, I didn’t look good enough—those things felt bigger than men.