I went to the Aria Design dress store. I entered the fluorescent-lit room, filled with beautiful, glittering, floor-length gowns; if only I were beautiful enough for them.
I was at the mall to fix my computer, and I had asked my mom to look at dresses with me for my senior prom. After holding my breath and squeezing into a size 4 dress, my mother and the saleslady decided that I was an extra small.
I was handed gown after gown, each of which read extra-small or size 4; each time I slid them easily over my 30 inch ribcage, and wriggled and pulled with all my might to fit the brim over my DD bust. After a violent, 5 minute struggle in the walled stall, I opened the door and presented myself as if I had effortlessly slipped it on.
As I rotated slowly under the spectating glare of the fluorescent lights, my mother, and the salespeople, I sucked in my ribcage and let out my breath. I stumbled and held the train of my dress as I awkwardly climbed into my four-inch heels. My mother held up her iphone camera to take pictures, making nit-picky comments about my positioning, the way my old ballet teachers had:
“Step into the pool of light. To the left. To the the right. Rotate. Stop. Back. Tummy In. Chest In. Head Up. Look at Mama. No, don’t push your butt, chest, and tummy out. Pull them in. Chin up. Head back.” With the occasional comment, “Do you know that you’re a beautiful child, Brooklyn?” And finally as she held up her camera phone, she concluded: “How about a smile?” I felt my grave expression lift to mimic her exemplary grin. Flash.
Breathless and tense, I wriggled into dress after dress. The salespeople smiled and laughed as I stumbled in the four inch heels, quietly noticing that the dresses cut into my breasts.
As I rotated in a blue, Georgian dress in front of the three adults, the Asian sales woman smiled and asked what I thought of it. Bewildered, I looked to my mom for an answer.
“ I don’t know. Mom, what do you think?”
“It’s your prom!” the Asian man laughed skeptically. My mother sat composed, waiting to deliver her opinion.
“I think that it’s a nice, classic cut; it doesn’t necessarily flatter your curves -if you know what I mean- and that it hugs your tiny waistline. Why don’t you try on the purple one?”
“Okay” I quietly submitted and returned to the dressing room. After a few more rounds, the spectators eliminated the breast-cutting dresses and narrowed it down to a navy dress and a purple dress.
“You look absolutely stunning in this purple one” they agreed. I almost smiled for the first time that day. Maybe everything would be alright after all.
When I got home, my mom put together a slideshow of the pictures she had taken and showed them to my friend, Alina. Alina smiled encouragingly, and said she favored the purple dress.
I noted that my breasts were emphasized in the purple one; Alina reassured me that it fitted perfectly, and that everyone’s breasts get that way. I suggested to send the pictures of myself in the two dresses in the form of a mass text to my five, best friends to get their opinion. Alina noticed me cropping out my head in the pictures.
“Why would you do that?” She asked, confused.
“I just think my head takes away from it” I said.
“But then it could be anyone. Leave it in”

Later that night, I told my boyfriend, N****, that I was anxious for prom. I told him how I couldn’t breathe in the extra-small dresses.
“Just don’t wear an extra-small, then” he said as if it were an obvious resolution.
“I wish there wasn’t so much pressure on girls. I wish we could just wear loose, drabby clothes and not worry about fitting.”
“I would wear drabby clothes with you.” He said.
I laughed. “That wouldn’t be socially acceptable.”
We snuggled on the couch and propped up my laptop to browse instant Netflix; we watched Psycho, which was followed by a contrastingly happy tv show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
The camera showed a tender moment between Khloe Kardashian and her boyfriend Lamar. Khloe, through her make up and glossy, Armenian hair, explained how every girl wants to be told that they are stunning and beautiful. N**** pretended to be asleep during the episode, but he must have heard what she had said. He rolled over, mumbling:
“You’re the most beautiful girl in the world, Brooklyn. I want you to know that.” I muffled my tears into the couch pillow.

The next morning, I texted the pictures of my dresses to my five best friends. Sophia responded by telling me that she missed me, and mentioned the way my boobs looked in the purple dress with “my oh my” and “haha”.
Leila responded: boobs. After prompting her to elaborate, she told me that my boobs looked ridiculous in the purple dress, the colors weren’t great, and that I could do better. I thanked her, pulled my hood over my head, and curled up in my bean bag.
“What’s wrong?” My mom asked.
“My friends don’t like the dresses we picked out, Mommy. They said they don’t like the color, and that that my boobs are too big.”
She helped me look at dresses on the internet, noting that certain dresses wouldn’t accommodate my figure. I told her to enlist me in the gym for the month before prom, and promised that I would at least be a dress and cup size smaller.
I had starved myself multiple times before, and I knew this would be no exception. I knew exactly what it would entail; first: scale, gym, grate fruit, celery, water; next; loss of energy, lack of focus, scale, gym, grate fruit, celery, water; then: depression, isolation, social withdrawal, damaged relationships, pain, fatigue, lower grades; finally: laxatives, dehydration, vomiting bile, depression, dizziness, poor circulation, worried parents. Ten pounds lost- goal achieved.

I was less concerned about tolerating pain, then I was about my studies and my relationships. My AP exams were coming up, and I would have to be able to concentrate. I couldn’t let my parents, teachers, and tutors down.

But I also couldn’t let myself, my boyfriend, and my friends down. I had to be pretty. I had to be small. I had to be valued.

I want to hide; to be made invisible. I want the ugly bulges in my bosom to evaporate; to be the thin, curve-less figure documented in the prom photos that would be evaluated by thousands of my peers and loved ones. I want N****’s 124 pound mom to see me as a beautiful, tiny girlfriend that is worthy of her son. I want N****’s arm to envelope the frail frame beside him, and to be able to lift me effortlessly into the air. I want my mother to admire my size 2-0 torso, for my bodily flesh to disappear with its accompanying criticisms. I want to be beautiful; to be accepted; to be loved.
squirrelgirl99 squirrelgirl99
18-21, F
1 Response Dec 5, 2012

This story make me sad. It seems that the best one is your boyfriend. He is the only one that didn't force his thoughts on you. Him and the Asian salesperson.