Do not tell me I am the perfect size. Do not tell me I have no right to complain. Do not tell me what to feel about my body because for years I binged words in the dark and now I am speaking.
I speak of history. Before waist trainers and skinny teas we were born with birthing hips. We exercised, we watched our weight, we ate everything off our plate. We cracked pecans under the summer’s glaze and baked whole box of brown sugar cakes. When metabolism stole my slice I knew something was medically wrong with me. Pecan trees’ roots run deep. I am a runt in a culture where every durag is my brother and every bonnet is my sister.
My mother argues with my static growth chart. My mother clamps my thigh gap shut. My mother prods at my visible rib cage. She envies how easily masculine fingers wrap around my wrist. I know she can’t find her size on mannequins, her shoes on displays, compliments in dressing rooms, and job offers in her waist.
She never will.