What do things look like from here

By Rianna Huertas

What do things look like from here?

 

I wish I had cared less about what people thought

That I wouldn’t have looked at myself in the mirror and wondered if other people saw me in the same way. 

That I hadn’t thought about if my laugh was too loud, 

If my thighs were pressing against the seat too hard, expanding with the pressure, 

If the hair on the back of my knuckles and against my temples was as noticeable to others as it was to me. 

That I hadn’t been tempted to get a size smaller, just to see if I could fit, and pretend that the size 4 waist was mine.

Knowing that they wouldn’t even fit over my calves, but buying them anyways 

That I hadn’t constantly worried about if my stomach spilled over my jeans when I sat down, wondering if my shirt provided some sort of illusion that I was thinner

That I hadn’t looked at myself and thought about the flaws that others might have seen

If my face was too wide, my shoulders too broad

If my voice was too nasal, too deep, too grating, too obnoxious

That I hadn’t wondered if people criticized me as harshly as I had criticized myself 

or if they cringed at things that I didn't even see

That I had believed I was as beautiful as my mom told me I was 

 

I wish I could have found confidence in my body, that those mantras about self-love had actually worked.

 

I wish I hadn’t felt like an imposter in every space I walked into

Felt the need to hide certain parts of me just to fit in

That I hadn’t exaggerated truths just so people would find me interesting

That I hadn’t been tempted to share secrets, just so people would like me better

That I hadn’t wanted social capital,

Felt ambivalent to the social hierarchy that I still so fervently believe in

Even though I knew it had no real gravity on my life

But that felt inaccessible because I wasn’t pretty enough, rich enough, or wasn’t born in the right place

That this constant stress about my place in the overlapping social circles didn’t exist

That I hadn’t been so worried about keeping up with the Joneses that I’d lost important pieces of myself

That I’d been confident enough to not let one person alter my self-image

I wish I felt like I fit in, could fit in, without losing or hiding a part of myself.

 

I wish these anxieties had all gone away 

That three years later, in my junior year, I wouldn’t still harp on the way I looked

Or think about my place in arbitrary social spheres

That my self-love had reached its full potential, progressing faster than it has 

That I was less self-conscious of everything, believing with every fiber of my being that who I am

Is enough 

I hope that one day I will be, that in my own eyes I can find complete acceptance

Where my 18 year old self only saw things that needed to be fixed.