What’s Happening to My Body?

Posted by Ed 12 mths ago
Devorah Heitner reflects on the ways she is reclaiming her relationship to her own body while grappling with the legacy of her mother’s poor body image and early death.
My mother always said she had thunder thighs. On one visit home, I found a picture of little Cindy at about age 10, long before she was my mother. In the picture, her thighs, solid like mine, are turned outward, in first position.
I studied the picture, noting how the blue costume cast a pallor on her pale skin. Her arms made an oval above her head. Her brown eyes looked big and nervous. She was not smiling. Maybe all the girls took ballet in the ’50s, in Little Neck, Long Island. The picture doesn’t give the impression that she was begging to do this.
The huge breasts that would later try to kill her hadn’t emerged yet. Just a small rise underneath her leotard. Holding the photo made me recall the sensation of my own breasts budding, stretching me from the inside, my nipples constantly sore, and rubbing, and wrong.

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