This poem is incredibly personal to me. It explains why I am the person I am today. Writing this was emotionally draining, and posting it is stressful, still.
That in consideration, I hope you can find some enjoyment in the reading.
A little girl, barely four years old,
So confident and funny,
Loves snakes and lizards,
Could talk about them endlessly.
She hears people talking,
They say that she’s weird,
She kept her interests to herself.
A little girl, in her first year at school,
Struggled to pronounce the letter ‘Y’.
Her parents joked and teased,
“You yuv your yetters, dont’ you?”.
She wasn’t sure why,
Not at the time,
But she became cautious of her words.
She learned to be self-conscious.
A little girl, about nine years old,
Would mix up letters
When practising reading –
Like all children do.
Her mistakes were mocked,
A joke amongst family,
And she learned not to ask for help.
A little girl, in Year Seven,
Bullied, for being so shy, most likely.
She loved sweets and chocolates,
But hated her ‘friends’,
If she could call them that.
She was unpopular,
The bottom of the heap.
A little girl, aged thirteen,
Told not to eat “so much rubbish”,
She needed to watch her weight,
She won’t be thin forever.
A boy in her English class
Calls her one of the ‘fat girls’,
And from that time onwards,
She learned to hate her body.
She stutters and stammers
Towards her first love,
A tall, sweet boy, of quiet disposition.
Her mind, aged sixteen,
Late to her first kiss,
Thinks it’s forever.
And it isn’t.
He breaks her heart for the very first time,
So she coats herself in makeup
And does things to her hair.
“It’s just a phase”, the adults all cry,
But this phase is what keeps her going.
She starts to lose weight.
She doesn’t notice at first.
Boys take advantage,
They throw her around,
Her body and her mind,
But she feels invigorated again.
She feels wanted again.
Even in her darkest hour,
When she’s scared and defenceless,
Crushed by his weight,
She laments her past, because
“At least someone wants me”.
His rejection starts talk,
And rumours circulate,
But this little girl, aged seventeen,
She rises above them.
With a close group of friends at her side,
Her past mistakes are a couple of jokes,
And she’s relieved she’s still wanted.
She downloads an app to track her weight.
A little girl, aged eighteen,
She’s happy and with a boy she loves,
But she’s so self-conscious,
Although she tries to internalise it.
His sister, his friends, his flatmates,
They’re all so beautiful,
Wealthy and confident,
And she feels inferior,
Taking up too much space.
Snacks and coffees in-between.
Several cigarettes and a bottle of wine.
It counts as a diet,
It must count as a diet…
but where are the changes?
No one notices the difference.
A little girl, aged nineteen,
She starts university,
Full of hope and confident.
But another’s scheme to steal him from her,
Her only happiness,
It tears her apart,
But no one believes her.
She gets ill,
Her mind betrays her,
She drops out,
And he admits she was right,
But he was trying to help her.
He promises that things will get better.
He’ll help her find a therapist.
A little girl, aged twenty, now,
She’s still without help,
Two bad therapists later.
She dances now,
She loved her old job,
She hates her new uni
And her hips protrude,
Her ribs are prominent,
And she can’t drink as much as she used to.
Rings slide off her fingers,
Yet still, no one notices.
She battles with panic,
On a bi-weekly basis,
And that’s a good week.
She swallows sertraline
And keeps up the illusion
That she’s relaxed, that she’s fun,
And is confident in herself.
They don’t see scratches from a breakdown gone by,
Or the meals skipped
In thanks to congratulatory hunger.
She doesn’t tell anyone,
She never will.
She maintains that she’s fine,
She always ate earlier,
And the wine is just a bit stronger
Than she’s used to.
A little girl, nearing twenty-one,
Her thighs now touch,
She takes booze by the bottle,
She eats full-size meals again.
She hates it, but what can she do?
There’s no one who gets it,
So, as a last resort,
She writes poems about it.
Dedicated to George, the online friend who gave me a reason to start creating again, and Frankie, because you’re still here and still fighting.