I wrote the following two poems long before I ever experienced any disordered eating behaviors or was even aware of body image issues.
I thought I’d share them today because in many ways, they are dueling poems, indicative of the up-and-down struggle so many women (especially) face when it comes to their bodies and their minds. How we feel about body image isn’t necessarily a straight and narrow line; it has lots of peaks and valleys and these poems demonstrate that.
In the first, I’m embracing my body and its goodness as I see it in that moment. It was written in 1998 while sitting in the entrance booth of a state park by my parents’ house in New Jersey where I worked that summer. I was 18, going on 19. In the second, just a year later, I’m conflicted and a bit jaded, after months living in looks-obsessed Buenos Aires. Suddenly I’m very self-aware.