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The Encounter With My Body


All I know is that there was a time in my life when food and guilt did not seem like things that would go together.

It was a fine morning, a rather fine one. I got out of bed and looked in the mirror and there it was, staring at me with all the awkwardness of a first meeting.  I had walked past that mirror and looked into it countless times. But never before had I seen this thing, so troubling, so strange. I let out a gasp only to feel embarrassed. Have I not always had a body?

How do i describe it? It is an impish sheet of paper made out of flesh and blood. On its surface is imprinted every single thing that passes through my mouth. It is a remarkable apparatus. It is my book of the knowledge of good and bad diet. If you call it an archive, you’re giving it way too much credit. This thing cannot tell the difference between what I ate five months ago and last night’s dinner. It does not even have the sense to let go of the 20 ounce latte I had a year ago. It just accumulates things and clutters me up.

Since that first meeting, it has decided to hang around. Honestly, I would not have cared much. After all, did Victor Frankenstein not make his own monster with his own hand from scratch? I simply met mine. Big difference there. It is the guilt that kills me. I cannot eat a pin drop without doing a penance of fasting and fatigue or dieting and exercise, as my loony doctor likes to call it. It is all so baffling. If you know anything about me, you’ll know I do not have a bone of the ascetic in me.

My body is a tyrant of sorts. It’s taken over everything–mood, desire, mental health, and all.  Meanwhile, there is the little ole me fighting this attempted overthrow, warring against my body parts. Perhaps, I’m not a human anymore. What do you call a being divided against itself?

Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

One Response to “The Encounter With My Body” Subscribe

  1. Ose May 27, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    This reminds me of my own body, truth be said that one day you just can’t recognise your own body. It appears to be another entity.

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