The Elephant



date published

March 2, 2017, 9:41 p.m.



I fear that I am the elephant

And not because of the majestic size of my body, or the beautiful wrinkles of my skin

But the elephant in the room

The elephant that is an advocate for body positivity who still has anxiety attacks over Christmas dinner

The elephant that is preaching that eating disorders do not discriminate

While the whiteness of my skin

Plays into the stereotype that I fight to erase

Shrinking is not the solution 

It is time to nurture

To fuel this body so that I can not only stand up 

But have the energy to step aside as well

My body… 

I have been taught to hate it

I have been told that it is not small enough, tight enough, pretty enough

But what is really wrong with it is what it symbolizes

Oppression, fear, colonization

It is not this flesh that has committed these acts

But it represents

No matter how small it is, it will still remain powerful in ways that I can never fully grasp

The privilege to speak, to walk down the street, and most of all

To fight without being labeled as violent

This is privilege, and despite the number on the scale or the amount of fat I can squish between my fingers

My body is powerful

I can use this power for good. 

I can use it to create space for those who do not feel safe

Those who could not possibly have an eating disorder because it’s “a white girl’s disease”


But pushing past these walls is not easy, and the elephant cannot do it on five peanuts a day

So here’s to hope

Here’s to talking about the giant wrinkly elephant in the room

Here’s to eye contact, and connection, and laughter, and empathy

Here’s to pushing for policy that is inclusive

Here’s to moving past the comfort of standing still

We can do so much better than that

The author of this poem has requested to keep their identity anonymous.

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