My reflection stares back, judgmental eyes roving.
I poke, pinch, prod.
You could use some definition. Toned muscles look good on a woman.
You need to eat more, you look anorexic.
I reach for an apple only to find it has gone soft and shriveled. Cookies beckon from the cupboard.
You should get more sun. You look pale, pasty, sick.
You can’t be in the sun with that complexion. Cover up before you burn.
I slather chemicals onto my skin. Avoid streaks and patchiness. No one can know this isn’t natural.
Your hair is so frizzy, it looks much better straight.
You better not be using heat on those curls, you’ll ruin them.
I pull my hair back, strands breaking.
The voices are thunderous. They drown me; squishing, squashing, squeezing. Shrinking me until I am small.
Please don’t notice me.
When I step out on the stage, my body moves in such ways.
Sensuous, tantalizing, desirable.
My feet are light as I flow, the jazzy notes washing over me.
Curly tendrils caress my cheeks.
Skin luminous in the spotlight.
Curves shimmying gloriously.
Emerging from those dark depths, I am no longer small.
I am tremendous.
The band leads up to the final crescendo and I unclasp the last lock, springing free from my cage.
The roar of the crowd is deafening.
And the voices are silent.