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?
People usually tell me to “get over it” when I’m being vulnerable, insecure, or afraid. They think you shouldn’t bother or aren’t interested in your feelings. “Get over it” is a cruel phrase. It means, “Not only do I not care about how you feel, if you were smarter, you wouldn’t care either.”
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.