A Letter to My Younger Self: Dear Morgan

Good morning Coffey Break readers!

My friend Morgan Lynch was recently featured on youngblackandrestless.com, and was really moved by her piece, A Letter to My Younger Self: Dear Morgan. Body issues come in all sorts of packages, and I really appreciate her approach towards highlighting something that is generally overlooked, especially in the Black community.  
In my experience, I've seen people tip toe around people who are overweight, but without hesitation: swing a skinny girl over their shoulder, compare wrist sizes, ask them what size they wear and/or chastise them about how they need to eat more!  For anyone who's wondering, that gets a little old... I suppose the perfect body will be a mystery until the end of time because every woman I've ever talked to has their own version of this dilema!

Dear Morgan,

Life is beautiful and you know it. You’re sweet sixteen! Your parents have put together a sleep over, spa day, luncheon, and shopping trip that you could only dream of. You’ve had such a happy life and growing up has shown you that not everyone has been given the same gift. What could possibly plague the girl with a wonderful family, great friends, her own lavender bedroom and a huge shelf of books?

You have managed to escape the awful teenage angst that has wrecked some others. But, there is one little hang up. Your weight. You are 95 pounds soaking wet and everyone from passerby on the street to your extended family members have something to say about it. You wear blue jeans not only because they’re comfortable, but because you can’t stand another comment on your skinny legs. People’s inconsiderate word vomits on your appearance are mind blowing and it has made you self-conscious.

In the white community, thin is in. And, you hear some of your white peers obsess over the scale and their weight gain. They think you don’t have a care in the world. But, little do they know in the black community it’s all about a good ol’ boomin’ body which you DO NOT have. Big butts, thick thighs, little waists. You are invisible to the guys who whistle at the girls with these lauded attributes. And, Beyonce who soon bursts on the scene does not help. You can’t escape it, it’s everywhere. While some may hesitate saying something to bigger women, no one pauses in dropping their two cents on your unbecoming appearance. “Girl, eat some cornbread! Where is your shadow? Do you have an eating disorder?” are spouted daily. “Skinny women are evil!” the comedian Monique screams. Skinny women have feelings too, Monique.

You have battled it all of your life, and your weight even gets you into your first fight with a girl who equates petite with pushover. You are peaceful like your father, but your mother has a tendency to come out in full effect when a quick jab to her eye ends the fight quickly. People also judge your character believing that because you’re thin you must be a vapid, shallow, control freak as one person admits at a teen volunteer group. “But, you’re really not like that!” she beams as if that at all helps. You are weary with sixteen years of defending yourself, and you are blessed to have parents who quickly check anyone they hear making unwarranted remarks. When will it end?

But look! Zoe Saldana emerges in Hollywood and says “Look at me. I’m skinny, I have a big nose, no tits and no ass. But, in a room full of beautiful women, I would still leave with the most gorgeous guy.” A magazine cover with Joy Bryant speaking on her struggles with weight help you to not feel alone. These women are black, beautiful and skinny!
In fact, a breakthrough occurs. You’re sixteen and staring the in the mirror of a dressing room, lamenting in the millionth pair of jeans that drown your small frame. When it dawns upon you. Skinny black women will never be put on the pedestal, but you realize that it should not change how you feel about yourself. This body is as good as gets because one day it’s all going downhill anyway so you might as well enjoy the lightning fast metabolism. Real women have curves and real women don’t have curves. We’re all unique. And, I promise the ride will get so, so much better. You’ll discover some guys dig your narrow behind. And, a stretch mark or two is around the corner. The comments will get better. “You’re skinny, but you look really good.” It’s like people can tell the insecurity is gone.
And, let’s just throw a few other reminders in there while I’m at it. Don’t squeeze or pop pimples.  You have pretty good instincts, go with your gut. Everyone is not “doing it.” Value your alone time, it’s indispensable. Dance and sing whenever you feel like it. And, continue to surround yourself with like minded people. Different sometimes is just that. Different. And, difference is not always good for you despite what some may say. Oh, and after that dressing room debacle, tell your best friend in the whole wide world. Your mom. Because she really is your best friend as she will prove time and time again. She will call you her “beautiful, brown girl.” It will make all the difference in the world.


Morgan  is a grad student and freelance journalist living in Boston, MA. She is currently looking for a literary agent for the YA novel she recently completed. Her timeline is smart and funny so follow her on Twitter @morgan_a_lynch