I see a stranger in the mirror. She looks familiar but not quite like I remember her, and not quite like I would hope she would look.
Her rib cage doesn’t jab out of her side anymore and her eyes aren’t so dark and her skin not so blemished. But now the skin on her hips hangs over the waistband of her tights and her jeans she’s had since freshman year can’t get past her thighs anymore.
She stopped serving herself 1/4 of a regular portion of food before sitting there playing with it and rearranging it to look like she ate something when really she could only choke down a bite or two.
She doesn’t spend most nights of the week with her head hanging over the toilet anymore, where she used to release everything she was so ashamed to have consumed.
She still struggles to get into the gym and show gratitude to the body that’s carried her through life thus far; the body that despite everything she put it through still tried it’s best to protect her.
She’s never been anything but thin, sacrificing anything and everything to maintain that appearance. She knows it’s actually a good thing that she’s putting on the weight but then her colleagues at work ask her questions like “are you pregnant” and “is everything okay?” while gesturing to her stomach that’s full for the first time, maybe ever.
She looks in the mirror again and feels proud. Despite everything in media and society telling her she should not be proud of this larger body, she’s proud that she stopped listening.