I get uncomfortable in the Grocery store.
Every time those sliding doors open, I roll my little cage on wheels into the vast world of opportunity, obesity, and overspending….
I raise my head and I see myself on that out of date television. Letting me know
‘Hey, you are on camera because you are not to be trusted.”
I look up into that TV, suddenly acutely aware of what the slight breeze, or vengeful wind did to my hair outside.
I look up into that TV, and shudder when I see my eyes.
They look even more broken than the last time.
I look up into that TV, and I am brought back to the age of 7. Grocery shopping with my Dad. Which really meant, wandering around the store for one thing… refusing to ask for help, and taking all day.
Finally, he found it. Saved the day. The Earth can go back to spinning. The traffic lights can turn green. FINALLY.
We found the nutmeg.
Now, the fun can really start. The checkout… The chocolate.
In a hurry, my overweight, over-worried 7 year old self runs ahead of my overage, over worked father and I feel like I dove headfirst into a world of sweets and chocolate.
The sight, it cuts off every lingering thought or issue within my brain. Except… in my excitement I cut off a man and his wife.
That split second of realization washed over me, and it felt familiar.
“Oh no. I got in the way.”
Before I could correct my crooked, corpulent confusion… A baseball bat made of words hit a home run with my stability.
“Who the fuck do you think you are Kid?”
FULL STOP. Blank Stare. The world existed as it was created. Silent.
Who… the fuck… Do I think I am…?
I Am Anthony.
I am in a grocery store.
I am overweight.
I am an on sale Turkey, crowded, critiqued, questioned, and killed.
I am Nutmeg — On a shelf, waiting for an overworked, over the hill father to finally find me and say “That’s Exactly what I was looking for”
I am a store employee, trying desperately to memorize the taunting rows just in case someone needs help finding anything.
Just don’t ask me where to find the Nutmeg.
I am a boy. Who fell asleep last night after about an hour of arguing with violent voices in my head telling me I will never be worth the skin it takes to cover ALL that extra weight.
I am a child, who stopped eating lunches at school after being told ‘It looks like you already ate enough’.
I am a child who will stop eating all together by teenage years.
I am a preteen, who got invited to a single pizza party. I ate two whole slices, and was proud for finally being able to keep something down. Except, on the way out of my friend’s house… I trip over the lip of the doorway. Turning my lunch into solid metal.
The chorus of laughter surrounding me, magnets.
Drawing my lunch up and up until it trips over the lips of my mouth.
I am a teenager who’s voice became a rarity.
I am a teenager pushed into a wall.
Told that fat gay kids don’t belong in Gym locker rooms.
I am an adult, who after refusing food for years is told…. Jeez you look like you could really use a meal.
I am a boy, who thinks he can never be a man.
Because MEN are more than 130 pounds.
MEN don’t spend lunch hour writing poetry.
MEN do not let themselves get pushed into a wall every day.
I am a fighter. Because someone said that’s what it takes to be a man.
I am a ‘MAN’. Because I learned how to hold my fist, and avoid the shoulder aching walls.
I am all of those things. And I am none of those things. Because I am simply a person… who got too excited about a chocolate bar.