By: Serena Habib, Contributor

Butter slathered on toast during mornings with grandpa,

Soccer games followed by cotton candy ice cream,

Pilsbury croissant scented moments with grandma,

Family Second Cup runs for hot chocolate with whipped cream.

Sleepovers with strawberries wrapped in homemade crepes,

Love in grandma’s curries, which made them preeminent,

Candid photos from feeding each other birthday cake,

Little did she know that a maelstrom was imminent.

Love stopped. Love shuddered. Love got lost in the rain.

Food led to fights over mealtime. Love was enveloped in pain.

Mentally preparing herself for Christmas baking,

Running the chocolate chip calories away,

Laughing at dinner while silently aching.

Food-flavoured love was simply not okay.

She watched the boy she loved post pictures with his loved one

Sharing desserts and dinners she would never be able to eat,

She wanted so desperately to be lovable,

But love drifted away, perpetually out of reach.

She had lost love: she did not deserve it.

She would only have the muffin when she aced her test,

A test with a framework built upon inadequacy,

Years of high standards, and pressure to be the best.

It was love in her aunt’s heart when she tried to feed her oil,

Though she really needed buckets of self-acceptance instead,

From her father’s love formed a focus on body image:

A love that filled family vacations with dread.

Her mother’s love induced carbohydrated commands,

Threats that saved her from withering away,

With loathing she ate her way back to rationality —

This led to a love that would never go astray.

Pancakes with peanut-butter mornings of hope,

Cotton candy ice cream to celebrate her nineteenth,

Love for herself, her family, her journey —

Though her journey might never be truly complete.

For sometimes she feels herself slipping through her fingers,

She sees her reflection and bursts into tears,

But then she grabs some hot cocoa and her purple pen,

Reminding herself to push through her fears.

And sometimes she can’t, and her family is hurt,

As if she doesn’t love them by not trying the homemade cake,

Or they commend her on her weight gain at Christmas dinner,

And a mended part of her begins to break.

But love is eternal; it’s patient and enduring.

With each winter, it reveals itself more.

Meals filled with laughter and fond reminiscing

Are love’s subtle ways of winning her war.


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