10 in chinese they call me fat (2016)

In Chinese they call me fat
the pinching and prodding is meant to be a compliment
the smiling pathwork teeth seeking agreement from their friends
I smile back and don’t do anything to prevent it
My mother ushers them on and tries to whisper to them in Cantonese
laughing and touching my arm like she loves me
She pushes food into my bowl and says I am eating too much

In Hindi they call me fat
Hold out their hands and plead, “madame, please, madame please!”
I am assumed to be a wealthy woman (with some cash to spare)
No clothes fit me except an embellished saree
I return to my hotel room and tighten my belt to the tightest setting
I am told straightaway, “You are quite fat!” in the happiest tone I’ve ever heard
I smile back and continue along my way

In English they call me fat
With their silence and side eye glances we have hurtful conversations
they call me fat in hopes to reach my very beating heart and stop it
I pull out $30 for a plain red tank top that fits and I sweat underneath the fluorescent lights
I daydream about affordable clothing by restricting my portion sizes
I have never been able to find a bra that accommodates me
But now I realize that it’s my home that can’t accommodate me

Note: hits close to home, don’t it?


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