I’m sick of this E. You gotta do better with yourself.
She sat across from me on the floor in my bedroom and said those words with a pained sternness in her voice and a look of serious concern on her face. I poked and picked at the fat in my stomach and took a chunk of my belly with my pointer and thumb and questioned her – See? I told my best friend I was unhappy with my weight. It’s been three years since I had my youngest child and I couldn’t continue to tell people – tell myself – it was just “baby fat”. But that excuse sufficed because openly admitting that I was eating excessively thanks to feelings of hopelessness was a no-no.
I gave up the Depo-Provera-Ruined-My-Body story last year when I gained twenty pounds, post-baby number two and turned to food to help me through the fat-shaming. How ironic. But my best friend said what I didn’t want anyone to know and I cringed at her bluntness and held my head in shame because of her honesty.
Stop running from your truths, quit thinking people don’t know what’s going on with you and start dealing with the things that’s causing you this pain, head-on.
I told her I chopped four inches of hair off because I wanted to try something different for the New Year but she called my bluff and said with disgust, you did it cause that ni–a told you to and with every confession I spilled from my soul, she hit me with a counter response, not to make me feel worse than I already did, but to get me to be real with myself. She was right. My him grew tired of finding long strands of hair in the sink my long locs and suggested I cut it off, even though it took me years of visits to the Dominicans to get it to the length I wanted it to be.
You should’ve cut his ass off, if anything.
I laughed but it was true. She knew me better than anyone in this world – more than the man I had children by and my momma that gave birth to me. More than the co-workers I spent 40 hours a week with and the blog I shared details on. This girl right here in front of me knew the depths of my depression and the secrets I’d always promised I’d take to the grave. She was fighting for me, right here, right now, because I had nothing left.
My best friend took a comb out her bag, untied my head scarf and started styling my hair. You’re beautiful E. She smeared all of the makeup off of my face. You don’t need this. Before I knew it, she started crying before me and told me to just love myself. She threw away all of the things I was hoarding that I thought provided me with comfort but only added to this low point I currently was in; the photos of me at 8 with a functional family that would never be again, the journals full of tear marks, the love notes from exes with the faded words from cheap pens, the clothes that were two sizes too small. Everything. She moved my sneakers to the back and let my heels take charge in the front of my closet. Start wearing these again. Do you know how sexy you are? Own that shitShe threw the pencil skirts and the V-cut blouses on the bed and grabbed the same “fat” I had just moped over and told me, Embrace your CURVES. She pulled out an old can of canary yellow paint, rolled up the blinds and reminded me that this place I locked myself in, was my sanctuary and the only person in control of my sanity was myself. Pull it together and start over.
I wanted to curse her and fight her and kick her out of my apartment but see, this girl was ME, facing all of her fears in front of a mirror. I couldn’t run or hide from the reflection anymore. I couldn’t live my life through everyone else’s perspective. I had to deal with the woman in the mirror and I had to ask her to change her ways. Thank you Michael for those words. I had to re-read the bumper sticker I once plastered over the corner of the mirror that told me, “the only service a friend can really render is to keep up your courage by holding up to you a mirror in which you can see a noble image of yourself.”

I put my arms around myself. I hugged me. I looked at the person in front of me and told her I loved her, even if I didn’t necessarily feel it right then and there. I grabbed a pair of heels and put on a Freakum dress, turned ‘Flawless’ up to ignorant levels and began painting, starting my life over. A fresh coat on the walls. A new me.