At Strong WordsPerformed at the launch of ‘Strong Words’, a typographical exhibition organised by Lov Gallery.

A letter to every skinny girl who likes complaining to me about how fat she is:

Dear Skinny Girl

What the appropriate response from
someone twice your size
Who would kill to be as thin as you
You are the unicorn
This rhino aspires to be

You weigh 45 kilos soaking wet
I haven’t been 45 kilos since I was 10
If you’re fishing for a compliment
you’re doing it at the wrong pond
I am the swelling river that runs
under the bridge that says “No Fishing”
And if you try, you are breaking my law
And there’ll be hell to pay

You, who fit into anything off the rack
And your biggest problem is
an abundance of choice
So many options, not enough wardrobe space
You, who turn people’s heads without trying
Coz you fit into the person-shaped hole
Of their dreams

Dear Skinny Girl

Do no mistaken my personality for empathy
I don’t know what it means to have options

When you tell me that you are fat
There is more going on here than
your pants feeling tight when you sit down
I’ve not had a day when the bottom of my breasts
don’t touch the top of my tummy roll when I sit down
(And sometimes when I’m standing up)
I don’t know how it feels to run, and dance, and jump
Without being reminded that big objects
shouldn’t leave the ground

People tear us down everyday
And it doesn’t matter how smart you are
What a kind and giving person you are
How you help the needy and feed the strays
How well you do your job
Because one day, you will go to work
and the first thing the client says is
“Where’s the pretty one?”

I am a big girl in an Asian size world
They don’t know what to do with so much fabric
So they splash it with loud patterns
Hoping to distract you from the galleon
Hoisting those sails
I sail my ship into the rocks
Every night, because there is no safe harbour
Only more storms

I have played the Hunger Games
And in my version
we’re fighting not to kill ourselves
This is not your battle
Go pick on someone your own size
You, don’t belong here
Tribute from District XXS

Dear Skinny Girl,

Go home
Look in the mirror
You are more than just your body
I am more than just this vessel
We, are more
than what anchors us
to this world


2 comments

  1. I understand where you are coming from, but tearing down people with a different body type is not the answer. Fun fact; getting told that your natural body type looks diseased (Anorexic, starving, stick-like) is not a compliment. I have never taken it as such. Strangers on the street love to wrap their hands around my limbs and squeeze to see if their fingers will touch. Or pinch my sides and cheeks just to test. My body is not public property, and you have no right to comment on mine if I have no right to comment on yours. I am skinny, and I have had massive insecurities about that. My body changed drastically in a short period of time (Gaining 6 BMI points in a year and a half), and I was still skinny so I was told I had no right to be insecure. I am not fishing for compliments- Do not say one girl is skinny and another is fat, say they are both beautiful. I should be allowed to discuss my body without it being a political statement, or giving a disclaimer that makes it about someone else. And for your information, it is not easy to find clothes while skinny. I check each rack to see if they have my size (they usually don’t) before I look at the clothes. I’ve counted, and there are more double-digit sizes than sizes below 4. I support your body, and any body regardless of size. But the solution to a lack of diversity in beauty is not to make “skinny” people less beautiful, but to make others more. Those are not mutually exclusive.

    My body is not a political statement or an opinion. I do not have to justify it and neither do you.

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