Looking Glass: A Poem

Below is a poem I wrote about a more personal struggle of mine. Eating, although I absolutely love food and I am such an adventurous eater, is a chore for me. I have battled with self-love since middle school and it is a war that I have still not won. The things that I have said to myself over the year, I could never say them to another person. If I saw a little girl looking in the mirror and picking herself apart, I would pull her aside and convince her that she is beautiful. I have not yet learned to do that to myself, but I am a work in progress. Some days are better than others. Everybody has parts of themselves that they do not like. It is important to focus on yourself as a whole, with both the good and the bad parts. You are beautiful as a whole. Focus on that.

I see this person

on the other side of the glass

She’s just staring,

So I’m staring back

And when she blinks, I blink

And when she cries

The tears fall from my eyes too.

 

She looks down

And so do I

She is looking down at herself.

And I am watching her.

I am doing it too.

 

The glass is smooth

The glass is cold.

The glass is just glass

Reflective of what I see

And how I feel.

Almost every day.

 

The girl looks back up.

Her eyes are swelling with tears.

“Why are you crying?”

I wonder aloud

But my voice is wavering.

Oh.

I am crying too. 

 

I feel the judgmental heat

burning from the tears in her eyes.

She looks herself up and down.

Then, her hand moves.

It’s on her stomach.

She seems to be pulling at it.

Wishing it would go away.

 

This bullying and torment feels

as though it lasts for hours.

But it has only been a minute.

I wonder why she would

do this to herself.

Can’t she see that this

torture isn’t any good?

That she doesn’t deserve it?

 

She wipes her tears.

My hands are wet.

She leaves the glass.

I can’t see her anymore.

But then she comes back.

She’s in a t-shirt.

Crumpled and ill-fitting.

She hides her figure underneath.

 

It’s my t-shirt.

The girl is me.

I am the one picking on myself.

Saying and doing things

That I could never dare to say

To another person.

I’m the one with tears in my eyes

As I pick myself apart

Piece by piece

Until there is nothing left.

 

It is horrible that the days I feel the best about myself

Are the same days that I eat nothing at all.

My body has become the bane of my existence,

The focus of society.

Inner beauty overshadowed by

A darkness of standards.

“You lost so much weight!”

“Have you checked the scale?”

“Are you eating?”

“You look so good!”

 

If I look so good now

then tell me

what did I look like before?

 

I am seething

That this is my vanity

This is what matters so much to me.

I wake up in the morning

And I wonder

What am I going to eat today?

 

To be skinny.

To be beautiful.

There are more parts of me.

And they are great

But this is what matters.

My looks.

 

There are more pressing matters

In the world

But here we are

Consumed by vanity.

 

America is fat.

Do I look like America?

I think I do. 

And I hate it.

I break the glass.

It shatters.

And I am still staring.