The Body Shame Game

The Hamilton Spectator - - OUR PULSE - CAS­SAN­DRA NADOROZNY, GRADE 10

The au­thor wants read­ers to know that she wrote this poem dur­ing a dif­fi­cult time but got through her strug­gles with love and sup­port from friends and family. She wants any­one who is strug­gling to seek the help and sup­port of oth­ers, as she did, and to know that things do get better.

A year af­ter my mum passed away, I was called fat for the first time. Seven year old me wore a jean jacket, And three boys I’d never met shouted af­ter me: “Hey fatty! Don’t eat my choco­late fac­tory!” Maybe this is when I found out about the cruel na­ture, That was teenagers in their habi­tats. Their eyes locked on the fat that was my body, Like how a preda­tor watched its prey, They snarled at me like beasts, But in­stead of dig­ging their claws into my throat it was their words, Mak­ing me the first vic­tim to their twisted body sham­ing game.

I re­mem­ber more about be­ing called fat Than I re­mem­ber what my mum looked like. Maybe it’s be­cause I was six when she died, Or maybe it’s that I’ve been called fat over more years Than I was alive be­fore she died. Hat­ing my body be­came rou­tine by Grade 6 Where my fat be­came a bur­den that I never signed up to carry, As if it turned into bricks, I was weighed down with it. Ev­ery step felt ag­o­niz­ing, But in­stead of break­ing my bones, It broke my brain.

I choked on the sad­ness that welled up in my throat I felt nau­seous when I looked at my­self in the mir­ror. I was afraid to look down be­cause of a dou­ble chin I got when I did, Like the ex­cess fat were hands, Wrapped around my throat stran­gling me, I couldn’t breathe. Cry­ing be­gan to feel like los­ing but still, I did it ev­ery night. My brain had forced con­scrip­tion upon the land that was my body, And upon the scarred warfield of my fat, I knew I was los­ing a bat­tle I never wanted to join.

He was forced with a gun to his head, Into his own bloody bat­tle. Liv­ing as a sol­dier on a bat­tle­field that was the bath­room, He stares at the food on his plate, Fear in his eyes, like he was be­ing forced to eat, A plate of writhing worms … But he wasn’t afraid of the food, but in­stead of feel­ing full, So when he is, he heads to the bath­room, And perches him­self over the toi­let, Shov­ing his fin­gers down his al­ready raw throat, And he gags, and gags, un­til he purges, Throw­ing up his mis­take that is his din­ner un­til it’s bile. The nau­sea lasts for an hour, so he numbs him­self with a cold shower, Lay­ing at the bot­tom of the tub, There’s no dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing the wa­ter from his tears, Be­cause he’s drown­ing him­self in both.

Pain has be­come a com­pe­ti­tion of who has it worse, But how is any­one sup­posed to get help, When all that mat­ters is if you’ve killed your­self? We’re dy­ing from our ill­nesses But we’re in love with them, Be­cause at least throw­ing up makes us feel some­thing, Other than numb. So we choke on our sor­rows, We choke on the vomit, And we choke. Un­til we can choke no more. So we suf­fo­cate.

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