Beauty. She’s so beautiful they’d say to the mother, what a lucky mama to have such a beautiful baby.
But then baby grew up grew confused, angry at not being seen for who she was. Grew fat. You could be so beautiful if only you’d lose some weight, the aunties said. She used to be so beautiful, they whispered behind her back. What happened?
Everyone felt so sad watching beauty sail out to sea.
I held on to her, tried to catch a ride. Tell me what to do, I begged. Don’t leave me. No one will love me if I’m not beautiful.
Well, she said, there are a few rules. Are you willing?
Anything I gasped.
First. You must never ever allow yourself to be hungry.
Yes. If you’re hungry you lose all your chips in this game. Chew gum. Smoke cigarettes. Don’t even look at a steak or fruit. Consider a carrot. Maybe celery.
No buts. Are you in?
Next. Always have a mirror handy so you can check to see if there’s any celery caught between your teeth. That’s ugly.
Ok. Check. Mirror. She gave me a small mirror that fit into the back pocket of my tight jeans.
She sat down, took my hand, gazed into my eyes. And finally…you must never ever ever get fat. Fat is disgusting.
Yes I agreed quickly wiping the sweat off my face. Fat is disgusting.
Do we have a deal?
So beauty unpacked and we set up shop. She showed me how to measure portions and how to throw up after a meal.
But then the diseases. Adrenal fatigue. Tooth decay. Sorrows that had no name. And hungers that drove me out of bed to forage for real food, for the nourishment I’d need to keep me alive. Chicken. Asparagus. Lentils and butter. Sweet potatoes. Moroccan lamb stews. A hunger that screamed to be fed, then wept at beauty’s feet when she threatened, cajoled. Get up! Throw up! Don’t give up!
Go away, I begged. Leave me in peace.
Beauty left her calling card on fridge. She used to be beautiful, it said. I tore it in small piece and swallowed it.
Gelato. Papayas. Mangoes.
You could stop eating, she called as she rowed out to sea.
Not a chance I called back. Coconuts. Bananas. Ripe figs.
Blessings of a kind heart upon you;
Blessings of the eyes of compassion upon you;
Blessings of giving to the earth upon you;
Blessings of the wisdom of the seasons upon you;
Blessings of breathing freely upon you;
Blessings of this moment upon you.