Concave

Hi, hello.

I wrote this short thing while I was noodling about with writing prompts (thoroughly recommend Writers HQ if anyone’s looking for good ones!). The prompt was “convex or concave” and as you can see, I opted for the latter. It got me thinking about my less than stellar relationship with my meat suit over the years, and the few paragraphs below are what came out after I set a ten-minute timer and started scribbling.

I just want to say up top that this post is not an attack on smaller bodies. It’s a result of years of assuming it was necessary for me to shoehorn mine into a shape that it didn’t want to be via a host of ridiculous and unsustainable means (hello, Special K diet!). M’kay, thanks. Here goes:

When I think of the word “concave”, it puts me in mind of begging. I imagine the hollow created by two cupped hands in a silent plea for more. “Concave” indicates both a lack and a need. No one begs unless there’s some underlying sense of desperation they need to address.

So then why did I spend all of my teens and most of my twenties hungering after a concave curve in my middle? I’d fantasized about wearing little tops that would “show off” a begging bowl of a midriff to everyone around me. I thought that once I’d somehow scooped the flesh from between my ribs and pelvis, I’d never need anything again: I’d be filled with unshakable confidence and inundated with admirers, all because my stomach no longer perched atop my jeans when I sat down.

At thirty-three, I now know that, for my body at least, I would need to be especially under-nourished to get to a point where I’m presenting like an apple with a chunk bitten out of it. I’ve learned that during all those years, my desire for hollowness was linked with begging: Begging for respite from my chattering worries (translation: generalised anxiety), begging for acceptance, and begging for validation.

I’m so fucking grateful that I’ve since accepted that I don’t need to eat only cereal for two meals a day, go cold turkey on snacking, or chew each mouthful of food thirty times over like a cow chewing cud in order to get those things. And that I sure as shit don’t need to beg for them.