Big Girl

Big Girl

Dear Diary,

this is probably the most excited I’ve EVER been.

Mum says it’s a big responsibility,

that only mature little ladies are allowed to walk to the shop alone.

Maybe next time I can take you too

but today I’m packing light,

in case there’s lions and tigers in the bushes

that jump out and I have to run for my life.

I don’t think there’s ever been any sightings

of big cats down Andrews Lane

but it’s better to be safe.

I’m wearing my fast trainers just in case,

and Mum said not to talk to strangers

and she’ll wait for me at home

but if I’m not back in twenty minutes

she’s going to phone the shop

and I’d rather not have another telling off.

Wish me luck, Diary, it’s time to race the clock!

Dear Diary,

I made it just in time

but I took my pocket money

and got distracted by the jars of sweets

as I was standing in line for stamps.

They have THREE different flavours of fizzy laces now,

red and blue and green,

more than I could ever eat, more sugary than I’ve ever seen.

One only costs 10p, and I had £1.50

so I asked for five of each.

You should have been there, Diary,

when the till lady said ‘you want FIFTEEN?’

I said I did, because I’m a big girl now,

and I’d done all that walking and my legs are still growing,

but don’t tell Mum, she’ll worry my teeth are rotting

and probably wouldn’t feed me tea.

I ate most of them, but hid the rest in the usual spot

behind the drawers at the back of my desk.

She never checks there when she’s mad at me.

I think sometimes she just forgets

that growing up makes me hungry.

Home Educated

Home Educated

If my mother taught me anything

it was how the weak inherit the dirt

buried beneath the weight

of putting husbands first

and living through your children.

If my mother taught me anything

it was the chains of festering silence

tied to family secrets

the way you and my father screamed after dark

the way you feigned happiness in the morning.

If my mother taught me anything

it was to criticise my body

hate my own bones

till starving showed them through my skin

how you would be proud of me then.

If my mother taught me anything

it was the vicious birth

you called us sacrificial blood

threw money at the graves of those you slaughtered

expecting forgiveness and calling it love.

Fuck Slimming World

Fuck Slimming World

This poem speaks for itself

and my distaste for diet programmes

that program women

to project

society’s preferences

for our shape and size and self-esteem

onto the surface area of our skin

like it doesn’t matter

what lies within us.

For what happens

when we go back to basics?

Meet barbie,

I had sixteen of those

barbarically shaped

smile faked

false representations

for a woman full grown,

the only thing she was perfect for

was her plastic home.

I used to play-pretend

they were ballet dancers like me

pirouetting across the stage

like how

I was so vulnerable at my age

that I worried there were calories

in toothpaste,

or the time I watched

a teacher at my ballet school

put a single lettuce leaf on her plate

because she was ‘watching her weight’

as every other ten year old girl copied

when all we really wanted was the chocolate cake.

Then meet my mother

who measured my food intake

and commented on what I ate

till my relationship with food

was filled with hate

whilst my stomach stayed empty,

and it took till I was in college

to appreciate

that food could have a taste

that wasn’t guilt.

For my sister

this lesson came too late,

she’s spent half my life

in and out of hospital

as her body wastes away

into a state of decay

and I don’t know if she’ll ever get better one day

or if I’ll get the chance to say

to her face

that she does not need to be reduced.

But mental health doesn’t work that way

neither does mine

it just fills me with shame

that my mother’s voice

still goes around in my brain

like she still measures

the size of my waist,

and I am still fighting

to lay claim

to a body that has always

been mine.

Then I go to work

where most of the women

attend weekly weigh-ins

and they speak of sustenance

as a ‘sin’

and the bin

is full of weight watchers wrappers

but just as full as the biscuit tin

which most of them still go in

because society’s pressure to be thin

is too much to hold in

your stomach.

So not many pounds are lost

but their love of self is

and they comment

‘how can you eat what you like and stay slim?’

because they have no idea what goes on within

my own mind,

and I just wish us women

would stop comparing ourselves to one another

or instagram pictures with filters

when the only scale we seem to consistently stand on

measures how critical we are of our sisters

or wishing we had another’s features

when we were designed by the universe

to be unique and individual creatures

but instead

our insides are starving

whilst women’s magazines beat us

for looking like our genes.

Is mine the only soul screaming

to be free

of this fucking hypocrisy

that tells us to love our bodies

when we’re still compared

to the tits on page three

or the pliable and barely legal

that dominate the porn industry,

because if it was up to me

I’d like to see

a few more hairs

and stretch marks

and natural beauty

on babestation tv,

and then we wonder why

women get plastic surgery

and go under the knife

like we’re a fucking carvery,

because we’re so hungry

for some basic regard

we’re robbed of any capacity

for creativity,

and that’s how they get us

in the end.

Because there is no ‘supposed to be’

in the human body

and your power doesn’t come

from how much botox you’ve had done

or if you’ve survived the day

on chewing gum.

It depends on

your insides

and how much you feel,

if there’s joy in your heart

and wild lust for what’s real,

because we’re not man-made models

we come from Mother Earth,

our bodies are fucking miracles

so why do we shun if a woman has skin rolls

after giving birth?

Like it’s only your post-baby body

that determines your worth

as a mother?

And everyone’s got a beach body

so if you’re at the beach

and it’s hot

you’ve got nothing to cover,

and if you sit on the fence

it’ll never blow over,

and then where does that leave

the next generation of girls?

Because I want them

to be born knowing

they can run

the fucking world.

Mothers

Mothers

Mothers

should teach their daughters

how we are of unconditional worth

how to practice self care

how to mother our own being from within.

Mothers

who cast out their daughters into exile

who starve them of food

of love

of belonging

of the lessons on how to be a woman

are not wise to be called mothers at all.

Giving birth does not determine motherhood

it is nourishing the becoming alive.

How naive to think

we can count with our fingers

the number of growing women and girls

we are asked to nurture.

Here’s where we are different,

mother, you and I.

Where you seek to destroy the weeds

I water the roots

expose them to sunlight

and exhibit the spectacle of beauty and power

from every combined wildflower in the world.

Is that not why she is called Mother Earth?