Dear Tasha

You’ve always been inches from your ideal. To put this in one word, you’ve been an almost. In your mind, you’re almost tall enough, almost thin enough, almost symmetrical, enough. To date, I have never found out what enough is, what the threshold, the minimum requirement is.

And given that the only person you’ve ever been out to please is yourself, there could be no harsher critic. You’ve set for yourself an impossible standard, this illusionary, airbrushed perfection. You my dear are bound to fail.

Right now I know you’ve met that uncle, the one who says you’ve gotten bigger, that it isn’t healthy. As if he can see inside you and see your organs cry out for help as the cholesterol seeps into your arteries. He says you must always sustain a ‘slim’ figure. Sitting on his high horse, heaving as his weight pulls him down, I wonder how I ever believed he could tell me how to live.

You have walked into your bathroom, held your clothes close to your body, wondering what being smaller would feel like. You have thought about starvation, you’ve done it. Days without food, you’ve tried to sleep through the hunger, believing you’d only be happy slimmer. You weren’t in any danger, no doctor told you to cut down, this choice, you made on your own.

A few days later, you weighed yourself as had become custom. You’d lost weight but you were weak and still, you felt fat. As you tugged at the rare fat you found
on your body, you didn’t think you’d ever be happy. Slowly, it began to sink in that you weren’t unhappy because of how you looked or because of what your uncle said, but because of what you thought of yourself.

It’s been a few years, I still find myself standing in the bathroom, pulling my clothes close to my body, tugging at my fat. I still find myself skipping a meal hoping it will change something. I can’t ask you to love yourself now, it isn’t easy and it will take time, but I will ask you to step off that scale and eat that meal. This, is the only body you get, don’t apologize for it.

Yours always,

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