Mocha Choca Latte, Yah Yah … Please
A poem about body image, by Elizabeth Caproni
Yah, I’ll have a decaf extra skinny mocha choca latte please.
My waist will be smaller to accentuate my double Ds!
You see that’s the only part of me that’s allowed to be big.
Otherwise the press will have a field day and call me a pig.
They papped me on holiday, lying in the sun,
Then proclaimed to the world, ‘Ha, look at her bum!’
In a terrible state I rushed to the gym,
Pleading my trainer, ‘Please make me thin!’
The next two weeks I was worked to the bone,
My ass, thighs and abs ordered to tone.
My dairy became soya and steak became fish.
The pounds were dropping off, I was getting my wish!
I grabbed my trainer and said, ‘You’re my hero!
I’ve dropped 3 dress sizes, I’m now a size zero!’
On top of the world, I attended a première,
Expecting the press to say, ‘Wow, what a derrière!’
Instead, though, they didn’t, and this is what I read,
‘She looks like a rake and has a lollipop head.’
Shocked and confused, just what the hell do they want?!
I thought I’d be praised for looking skinny and gaunt.
What, I get slagged for being fat and for being thin?
Well, I give up, I don’t know how to win.
Now young girls are starving to look like me,
Viewing my airbrushed pictures, if only they could see
That I have blemishes, lumps and bumps just like them.
See, if they could see that, well, maybe then
Things could change and we’d be allowed to be free,
No dangerous diets and starving, but we could just be
Whatever size we naturally are
And we’ll be admired from close-up and afar.
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
We should believe this, instead of looking over our shoulder
At who is thinner, prettier and whose bones stick out most
It’s time to take a stand, I don’t wanna be a ghost!
When will we be happy with what we see in the mirror?
We are beautiful – let’s stop getting thinner and thinner!
You know what, forget what I ordered – for goodness’ sake
I’ll have a full-fat latte – and a carrot cake!
A healthy balanced diet with a few treats thrown in
That’s the way to go – that’s the way to win!
So what if I have a few dimples on my thighs,
It’s about time that magazines stopped telling lies.
I’m taking a stand and being happy, not just thin.
It’s time to be content with the skin that I’m in.
By Elizabeth Caproni
Suffering from Dercum’s Disease – yes, look that one up! – I was suffering from a form of body dismorphia and thought I really was a freak. Finally, in my 60s, I decided to get some help. You see, my body grows angiolipomas all over. Hundreds of them them from the size of a bee to the size of a beefsteak tomato. At last, I’m able to say well the problem with my body isn’t a problem for me. It might be a problem for others, but so what? It really is about what’s going on inside that counts, not the outside.
I feel for young girls who feel the pressure of their peers and the media and think they should look like the girls on magazine covers. So many of these images have been manipulated by photographic software. Nobody looks like that! Just be yourself and once you can love yourself then others will love you as well.
I absolutely love this raw honest all-can-relate calling out of how it is for most of us but in a non-bitter numerous tone. A joy to receive this email today as a newly single person after 23 years on a path to rebuilding. So far I’ve found the best way to rebuild is being kind to others and showing vulnerability (just being real and honest, not oversharing or dumping). That enriches connection and builds self worth
Thanks Ally. I love you attitude of being kind to others and showing vulnerability. I have a very similar view. 🙂
Absolutely Brilliant! Thanks for sharing! I’m gonna share this also!
A fabulous poem Elizabeth! What a great statement for girls, women, boys and men to read.
Be yourself and love yourself for what you are.
Thanks Jayne. Yes, absolutely … be yourself and love yourself for what you are.
Sadly I unsubscribed just now, because while the author offers help, and seems to have lived experience, something doesn’t quite add up here. It’s showbiz and celebrity, rather than openness. I don’t want to be treated as your audience and marketing. Teaching is to my mind a form of servant leadership. Humility, not hiding behind barriers. Each of us sees our self and so all else in different ways. I wonder what outcomes might be feared so that defensive barriers exist. Anyway thanks, because I’m sure your work helps lots of people, but the teachers I trust are those with no fear, or who are comfortable living with fear and showing this to others. All else, regardless of content, is about power and control. Do we make life hell because we fear death that is not. Love, Alan
Hi Alan, I’m sorry you feel that way. To be honest, the poem is not autobiographical. Elizabeth wrote it over ten years ago in response to a specific campaign that was started by some women who founded a charity (BodyGossip.org) who wanted to raise awareness about body image issues and the over portrayal of seemingly ‘perfect’ bodies online. At the time, there were several news items in the media about how some celebrities’ images were airbrushed and, as such, causing some body image issues and the drive for girls to feel pressure to diet. In Elizabeth’s line of work, the same pressures exist. That’s the context of the poem. The charity has since done a large amount of work to continue to highlight the issue and they’ve used the poem in some of their work as it reaches a specific audience. I shared it to help continue to highlight the issue following an interview I gave a few days ago that touched on self esteem issues in teenagers and some of the pressures they feel under. The message of the poem, and the campaign, is simply to highlight the importance of accepting ourselves as we are.
A brilliant poem, Elizabeth!
Thanks for sharing, David.
Lovely, true, and so pertinent in today’s mental health epidemic among young people especially.
Absolutely love this David, your partner is very talented. I thought I’d share one of my poems with you in return. it’s one I meant to go back to tidy it up a bit but decided to leave it perfectly imperfect!!
Being perfectly imperfect doesn’t come without having any flaws
Like a solicitor drawing up a contract…leaving out an important clause.
Being imperfectly perfect shouldn’t invoke any stress
Except when the front of your hair looks fine; but the back is a hell of a mess!
I think these opposing words describe each one of us
I expect even the Pope, if he stubs his toe, surely has to cuss.
Isn’t every single person a perfectly imperfect human being
All doing the best we can but sometimes hearing, yet not always seeing.
Being perfectly imperfect, means accepting completely – “warts and all”
Like when sunflowers lose their petals, they still stand ever so tall.
Acceptance of this state – acknowledging exactly who we are
Surely is a great leveller and puts us all on a par.
We are all imperfectly perfect: me, you and all the rest
By being perfectly imperfect we’re just striving to do our best.
DebS © 9th November 2019
I love your poem, Debs! Really great and powerful message. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Thank you, you’re welcome.
Encompasses every little pressure we live under, the stress we put on ourselves to be body perfect.
When the true answer is to know that no one will ever be perfect and that we are truly great just the way we are, in our own unique and lovely way.
Thanks Sian. And well said!!
This made me really emotional. I’m starting to really like myself and instead of finding that normal or even a relief, my dominant thought has been ‘oh-oh’ – as if by stopping caring about the ideal figure means that I’ve lost my way! It’s insane how much this stuff gets under our skin. Thanks to you both,