I See You

I see you looking at me when you think I’m not looking.

Always whispering, and judging, and letting me know that you know I’m not good enough.

Just when I think I have finally gotten everyone fooled, I see your little pink nose sticking out – all up in my business.

So, my choices are that I can push you back down … far enough that I can’t hear your sneaky, petty voice; or I can grab you by your obnoxious, beribboned pigtails and drag you out to confront you. “Leave me alone! You don’t know anything about me!” I’ll scream.

But we both know that is not the truth. You do know. You are the only one that really does know the truth. You’ve been there for it all. You have had a front row seat from the very first “cowboys are gonna love you ‘cause you’ve got fat calves”, to the latest “let me tell you about this great diet that my friend is on”.

You have heard every “such a pretty face”, “what a great personality”, and “are you really gonna eat all that”, that was ever thrown my way. Only you know when I say, “I just love food too much to quit”, or “my husband likes some meat on the bones”, or “yeah, I’d like to catch an eating disorder for about a week”; what I really meant to say was, you are right, I am fat. Thanks for pointing it out…as if I hadn’t already noticed.  

My biggest critic and the loudest voice, has always been my own. Believe me, whatever you are thinking in your head about me, is something I’ve already told myself a thousand times.

But if truth be told, would you really like me more or like me better, or would I have more friends, or go more places or have more fun if I were thin? Even with this little, trembling, hateful girl inside me, I still have a pretty fabulous life. So, for today, I will tell her to shut the fuck up – don’t be a bitch – leave me alone! I will smile and enjoy it when someone says, “that’s a great color on you”, or “what a beautiful necklace”, and I will not spend an hour trying to decide if it was a backhanded compliment or not. I won’t. I really won’t….I promise.

 

Leslie Lippa

I am a 50-something-year-old lover of hippos, books, and the beach. I currently work at the Greensboro Fire Department in North Carolina in Public Relations. I wrote this piece in 2014 while struggling to climb out of the depths of despair after losing my mother to a long battle with cancer. My momma and I shared a special bond over the beach, and I recently added a tattoo in her handwriting of a line from the last note she wrote me - "the beach calls and I sure understand that. Love, Mom". I had the opportunity to attend “Summer Camp at the Barn”, a week-long writing workshop at the Highlights Foundation this past July and was honored to work with Megan McDonald, of the Judy Moody series and the renowned Peter Jacoby. I shared my essay with the other authors at the camp and was encouraged to send it out into the world.

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