Keresha Story's Disordered Eating Santa Cruz

Western Initiation to Womanhood

When my body began to change
Hips widening
Breasts and belly rounding
Thighs and bottom curving,
The women did not gather
To adorn my figure or praise me
To prepare me for my flowering adult form

So I tried to ignore my body
and stopped eating
Fasting for days
down to the weight
that the teen fashion magazine told me
everyone my height should be.
Gaining all the pounds back when I
began to eat again, feeling I was a failure
I hated my new female shape
My Mother tried to cheer me up
saying "It's just baby fat, dear"

I painfully denied that
I was becoming a woman
Even as I continually bruised
my new hip bones, thinking I was thinner
and swiping my side on doorways.
Running away from my Mother
when she brought home a training bra
to cover my nipples
budding up out of my t-shirt
Like a wild horse
I refused to be reigned into Western Womanhood
symbolically being bond with a brassiere

And at 12 years old
when the royal red stream of my Moon
began to run
The women did not gather
To sing and dance or celebrate
To welcome me into their community

Instead I bled through my pants
all afternoon, swinging on the bars
trying to hide my new womanhood
from my best girlfriends
Later my sister would coach me
through the bathroom door
"I know it feels like a broom handle..."
pondering for a moment the toxic shock warning
as I plugged up a chlorine-bleached tampon
and tried to forget about "the curse".

25 years later and I am still
trying to value my Womb-inly figure
Learning to love and accept my roundness
as I wax and wane with the Moon
and feed my Self well

It helps to not watch TV or mainstream movies,
to not focus on negative portrayals of women
refuse to $upport "women's" fashion magazines
that feed the multi-billion dollar diet industry,
and always make me feel like something
is wrong with me and my body

We women must create our own ceremony
To celebrate our body the way it is
Put clay figures of our body type
on a home altar and worship ourselves
as the Great Goddess that we are

After centuries of oppressive patriarchy
that critiques and weakens women
We must reclaim the high status of Womanhood
By honoring and nourishing our bodies
Have images of round healthy women surrounding us
Recall the ancient body memory
that values *real* womanhood, women's voices
That values "women's" work, women's ideas
That values time with women
and finds strength in Sisterhood
in all our blessed shapes and forms

I take walks in Mother Nature
She replenishes my spirit
and the forest reminds me
every size and shape is an important part
every size and shape is divine.