She let out a heavy sigh as she stared down at the black scale on her cool bathroom floor. She removed her wrinkled t-shirt and cotton shorts before stepping on. Drew in a deep breath. The scale’s dial whipped around quickly, then teetered back and forth before settling on a number.

And that’s it. That’s the number that defines her today. She’s seen it. She cannot change it. Today, that’s her number.

And it’s not good enough. It’s not low enough. It’s not thin enough. It’s fat. It’s bloated. It’s ugly. It’s big. But today, that’s her number.

She shakes her head silently as she steps back off and turns to start the shower. Tomorrow will be better.

She’ll shave her legs and curl her hair and line her eyes and powder her nose, but it won’t matter. That number has already taken hold. She’ll pick out her cutest dress. Pair it with trendy heels and statement jewelry. But the number hangs over her still. And she’ll examine herself in the mirror before she walks out the door, but all she’ll see is that number.

Every woman she runs into she’ll match up against her number. Every size two and extra small. Every time she’ll fall short. Her number is just too high.

Every bit of food she consumes she’ll weigh against that number. Will this make it worse? Is it worth it? What if I just skip this meal? She won’t enjoy a single bite. Food has become a number too.

And at the gym she’ll mount the elliptical and watch the calories slowly climb. Exercise is just another number. She’ll push and pull and sweat and gasp and think, tomorrow must be better.

She’ll drink water and pass on dessert and go to bed as her stomach growls and dream of a better number.

I know this girl. I was this girl. I see this girl still every day. And every time I see her, I want to tell her a lesson I learned long ago about numbers on the scale.

Those numbers do not define who you are. They do not determine your worth. They have no gauge on your potential. And they most certainly cannot assess your beauty.

They are numbers on a machine. A machine designed to tell you your relationship with gravity.

Stop looking at the scale and start looking at yourself. You are beautiful. And everyone else can already see it.


This obsession wrecks and kills.
Compliments are only thrills.
Watch and look and notice me.
Feed my soul with flattery.

Trapped by mirrors. Locked inside,
With all the flaws you try to hide.
Take a photo. Hold it dear.
Beauty fades; your gravest fear.

Old and wrinkled. Spotted. Grey.
Nothing gold can ever stay.
Stolen by that master time.
Beauty thief, most deadly crime.

Sacrifices must be made.
Take my other strengths for trade.
Wit or stealth or joy of soul,
Can fill me up, but not make whole.

For value comes in slender thighs,
In luscious lips and endless eyes,
In busts so full and waistlines slim,
In fantasies and surface whims.

Better hope your baby girl,
Has ivory skin and lashes curl.
Better hope her dreams do rest,
On flatter stomachs, larger breasts.

Now wake up, suck in, take the scale.
Fight the fight, but never tell,
Your weakness and your strength are one.
Build back up to come undone.