This was originally written June 22, 2002.  I read this at JournalconDC in 2004 at the invited readings.  

    (this is not what I had written for today, in fact it's nowhere near what I had written.  After spending a lot of time discussing fat and Southwest Airlines policy, this is what spewed forth.) 

    I am no one's idea of a traditional beauty. 

    I'm not tall, I'm not thin, I'm not blonde. 

    My nose isn't perky, my hair isn't straight. I don't have a 34-24-34 hourglass figure. 

    My breasts don't stand up on their own.  My skin isn't flawless. 

    I'm short.  5 foot 3 inches and shrinking.  My legs are not in proportion with my torso.  They are short, the are fat, they are squishy.  They are scarred from childhood accidents, my knees aren't perfect.  They are not the ideal. 

    My torso is long, I'm all torso and back.  When I'm seated I look like a tall woman, imposing.  I stand and I'm barely taller than my seated figure.  My arms are not long and willowly.  They are short and round, just like the rest of me.  I have a scars here and there, peeking out from my naturally yellow skin. 

    I'm not tanned, I'm not pale.  I'm yellow and medium.  The Cherokee that is in me shows through in my skin tone and my high cheekbones. 

    Cheekbones that are covered with an expanse of fat.  Yes, fat.  Not cushion, not flesh, fat.  I have round, apple cheeks.  When I smile they push up and make my eyes crinkle. 

    My eyes are not the blue of the sky, or the green of the grass, they are hazel.  At times they are more brown, others green or grey.  They are large, framed with long dark eyelashes, covered by my black framed glasses. 

    Glasses that are perched upon my nose.  My large, non perky, non cute nose.  It's big, no getting past that.  It sits in the middle of my face decorated by a small nostril piercing.  A silver colored ball peeks out in defiance.  Defiant against those who tell me my nose is ugly. 

    I'm not ugly.  I'm not a model, nor do I wish to be.  I'm not a traditional beauty, nor do I wish to be. 

    I'm short, fat, round.  I have large breasts.  Breasts that sway in the breeze when they're not encased in elasticized material, forced to sit in an unnatural position. 

    These aren't the breasts of any 18 year old girl.  But, then again, I'm not an 18 year old girl.  I'm 27, not old, yet not a teenager.  I have lines starting around my eyes.  You can see 27 years of laughter and smiles in them. 

    I have a small line or two around my mouth, years of talking, smoking, laughing, smiling do that to your face.  It's part of life.  I do not have them injected away or pulled taut.  Nor will I. 

    I have grey coming through in my hair.  A few here and there, peeking out, taking in the sun.  I haven't dyed my hair in a long time, it is grateful.  I'm allowing it to be, itself.  It is shades of brown, a hint of grey, a mess of curls. 

    Curls, kinky, wild, nonsensical curls.  They have a mind of their own. There is no calm, tame, look for this hair.  It is free, it is long, it  draws attention to itself.  It is there, you will look. 

    At times I tuck it behind my ears.  You can see the uneven size of them.  One is larger than the other, both are pierced.  Ears are to be decorated.  I wear them with pride. 

    Along with my other jewelry.  A ring or two on my chubby fingers, a necklace gracing the cleavage between my breasts, as they sway above my stomach. 

    My stomach is large, it is fat.  It is not hard, it is not flat.  It's soft and round.  It sticks out in front, it will not be missed.  It is me. 

    All of me.  I am not a traditional beauty.  I am not every man's fantasy. Nor, do I have to be.  I wasn't put on this earth to fit anyone's ideals.  I was not put here to be anything, but, me.