Physical Education

“You should be able
to put a ruler straight across your
hip bones, with nothing in between.”
– my 8th grade P.E. teacher



She demonstrated this
with great ceremony
on her tiny ectomorph body.

We took it as gospel.

5 foot 2, all of 110 pounds,
14 years old,
I immediately went on a
diet. Ate hardboiled eggs and
grapefruit juice day
after day. Ran mile after mile
in 100-degree heat until sweat
poured out like tears.

It would take years
for this particular lesson plan
to be undone.




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3 Responses to Physical Education

  1. Mia says:

    I love the way you close this.

  2. ihatepoetry says:

    Ach, my goodness. The things we do to ourselves to try and be perfect. This just made me ache with sadness. Me? A lifetime of body shame. On the other hand, I’ve got so much material – thanks, Mom, Pop, the world…. love, Moskowitz

  3. Dear – what a horrible age to say that to girls. It reminds me of a commercial I heard about – it was moms wishing mad that they could not fit their bottoms into their children’s child-size chairs! I mean, how ridiculous. We are too hard on ourselves, indeed!

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