“Why you fat?”
Sitting in the kitchen at a rectangular table with six chairs around it, I was observing my surroundings. Looking at a black voluptuous woman holding a knife at the grip of the handle like holding on to a heart that belongs to her, I spotted my mother. She has a scar that contours her cheekbone, brown eyes, dark skin, and thin eyebrows-- such a beauty she was.
With my stomach growling like I hadn’t eaten for days, I stood up and walked to the fridge for some plantains I prepared a few days ago, put them in the microwave, and began to walk out of the kitchen to enjoy them in the parlor, but before I could sit down: “Be careful of fried food,” my mother said. I quickly responded:
“Why do you always have to tell me that every time I come home?”
“What are you saying? I’m only telling you to be careful for your own good” my mother replied.
A tall male walked into the kitchen and said, “Don’t talk to mom that way.” It was my brother.
“I’m only saying that every time I come home, she reminds me that I look different; I’m tired of hearing it,” I replied.
“You do not have the right to talk to her that way; she’s only giving you advice,” my brother replied.
“But it’s one thing to hear it once. I hear it too much; that doesn’t make me feel good about myself,” I said.
“What do you mean? If you do not feel good about yourself, how is that her fault? Is she the one that tells you what to eat? Does she force food into your mouth? If you do not like what you see then change it; don’t try to blame other people. You like when people lie to you; all the boys you are talking to may lie to you but your family tells you the truth. They are supposed to be able to tell you the truth about yourself. It’s your fault if you feel bad about yourself or don’t like what you see. If you don’t like it then change it,” he responded.
My heart stopped for a second. I couldn’t breathe, and uncontrollable tears fell down my cheek. The room became cold, and I was freezing. I felt lonely, like I was standing in the middle of an abandoned house 10,000 miles away with no way out. I knew I could never be good enough; no matter what change I made I would always be different. What they didn’t know was that I had lost five pounds recently. I was proud of my accomplishment, but in that moment, five pounds more or less wouldn’t make a difference. They didn’t care how hard my journey was; they didn’t care that every day all around me I’m reminded that I am different, that I do not look like everyone else. My two sisters were smaller than me; they were able to switch clothes while I was left on my own. I never felt in the loop. Most of my friends were smaller. Home was going to be my safe heaven, a place where no one could touch me; I would be undefeated in the field of battle, but I was mistaken. I was ready to find a new home.
All the thoughts drowned me; it was raining outside with the drops beating hard on the windows and doors. The beating of the rain left scars that couldn’t be removed. I walked inside my room slowly, feeling drowsy, weak, and restless. I held on to something splendid; it was my dresser. Lying on my bed and covering myself with a blanket, I heard something break. Looking below my bed sheet, I saw my mirror was shattered. I looked through it and could only see myself in pieces. I wanted to fix the mirror. I needed to fix the mirror; it was an authentic piece to me. I could not fix the mirror, and instead of piecing the mirror back together, I glued it. Although the mirror was back together, if you look closely you can still see the scars. I still have the mirror today, and it reminds me of my journey.
I remember this day as though it was yesterday. It was a Tuesday, and Sunday couldn’t come fast enough because I would be back in school. I’ve always felt as though I had to work ten times more to prove I was capable to my family for them to be proud of me. I not only realize I had problems with how I viewed myself but also how people viewed me. To look beautiful, one must feel beautiful. I am beautiful. In the heat of the argument, I thought I hated my brother, but today I know he was only trying to help me search for my confidence. Society’s norm is tall and skinny like those Victoria Secret models you see in commercials. But my reality has become my norm. Until people believe what they are worth, society will keep defining them.
So, why am I fat? I am not fat; I’m thick. The curves on my body are like no other, starting from head to toe. My scrumptious body is like a coke bottle, when filled up it bubbles over, robust and pleased.
I began to click the heels of my feet together saying “there is no place like home, there is no place like home, there is no place like home.” I heard my name being called by my brother: “Rukayat, Rukayat.” I suddenly awoke from my trance. I saw a coke bottle on the dresser, and I smiled. I knew I was in my safe heaven once again.