Body Image: Awful Poetry Edition.

The Problem With Mirrors and Magazines.


What is wrong with my brain;

I’d really like to know?

It seems that when I drop a pound

fifteen more start to show.


I am me

I am not She

She is not Me

but she’s who I’m supposed to be.

Or is she?


Work, sweat;


Wake, look;



I spy, with my mind’s eyes

Something that isn’t quite right.

My head, it knows,

But my stomach it shows,

And something inside of me lies.

The numbers are there–

they don’t matter.

I spy, with my real eyes,

Something that isn’t wrong

My head, it knows

But my stomach again shows,

And something inside of me lies.

The numbers, who cares?

I think that voice is broken.

While I may have just gone off the dramatic deep end , I do have a point to make  with my awful poetry. You lovely readers know that lately I have been making an effort to become a healthier person. (Yes, I fail many, many times but I always start anew.) So far in this process I’ve lost two pant sizes and over fifteen pounds. You would think that this would be a great victory for me, the girl who slowly gained weight during the first three years of college until she resembled a miniature blimp–albeit a blimp with great legs.

For a while, it was. When I first saw the number on the scale, when I first zipped up those skinny jeans I haven’t been able to wear since Freshman year which have been living in the basement ever since and now are too large, I was ecstatic. I had accomplished something, and I was looking good.

Then, I took another look. That tummy is still rather rotund, the upper arms and legs are not as firm or as thin as could be desired, and the face is still buried in flab. It doesn’t matter that I lost that weight, I’ve still got thirty five pounds to lose, I cannot believe I allowed my self to reach that god-forsaken state of heft,  people were probably embarrassed to be around me. They probably are still.

I am not writing to lament over what I like to jokingly call “my predicament.” It is my fault, and my fault alone, that I became unhealthy. I refused to exercise regularly and did not eat well. I spent my time in sedentary pursuits, and I made excuses for why I could not possibly be healthy.

I am not writing for a self-esteem boost, or fishing for complements. I know that I have made good progress, and I hope to continue to do so. I know that the changes I am making now will help me to be healthy and have a full life as years go on.

I am writing because my way of thinking, while almost universal, is not ok. The mind adjusts very, very quickly to changes in appearance, and the idea of “never being good enough” is far too prevalent. Yes, it is good to strive to excel in life, but not at the price of mental well-being and actual health. It is good to try hard, to not be lazy: it is bad to think “no matter what I do I can always do better.” Because what does that really mean? “I will never be good enough.”

So please, women and men, next time you look in the mirror, try taking a few moments to go over some of your positive attributes rather than just the ones that could be improved on. I will try to do the same. I will try to look back and say, “look at how far I have come.”

I recognize that I am still on a journey, but if I refuse to recognize my successes then I render them impotent.



P.S. “Awful Poetry” title borrowed from grapesofrad.


5 thoughts on “Body Image: Awful Poetry Edition.

  1. Have you been following the Seventeen Project?

    It’s pretty amazing.

    I don’t struggle deeply with my self image any more. Maybe its having small children or being comfortable in myself. I do however remember that everything I do counts and that positive choices like walking the long way or a piece of fruit will always make me feel better. And feeling better is more important than looking better.

  2. A couple of years ago, something just ‘clicked’ for me and that all consuming feeling of ‘not good enough’ went away. It creeps back in every so often (which you know about, I think we talked about it yesterday while walking the track!), but not for too long. I don’t know if I ever shared this with you, but I read once that if you HAVE to compare your body to someone else’s, you are only allowed to look around the ‘locker room’ so to speak. Notice the real bodies all around you. Yes, there are some fabulously fit or naturally gorgeous people here and there, but there is a whole lot of variety. I think we all need reminders sometimes of what the female body really looks like, all around us. I think I have told you that…but maybe you needed to hear it again.

    And yes, you do have fabulous legs. Exceptionally fabulous, really.

    • Yes, thank you, you had shared that before. I think it’s wonderful 🙂
      I just wanted to illustrate how wrong this kind of thinking is, and how much I need to get it out my system (and I have made quite some progress), and I hope that other women will start to realize that it is not ok to think of themselves this way.
      I hope that I am able to overcome this programming as well.

  3. I’m so proud of you Em! You’re quite inspiring! I know what you mean by looking in the mirror and seeing things you want to change… it can ruin your day (or at least mine). Keep your head up though! You’re doing fantastic and look fantastic. 🙂

    This is the kind of poetry you should be writing:

    My name is Emilie.
    I look awesome.
    Dudes dig me.
    Especially when I wear rompers.
    The end.


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