Clemson University Homepage Clemson University Home Clemson University Site Index Clemson University Calendar Clemson University Campus Map Clemson University Phonebook

146| When My Mother Calls Me Thin

Caroline Tanski


I snap, “I don’t assign particular
value to thinness.” All my life she has told me
beauty is equal parts health and kindness, so much
that I began to believe her. With age I find
vice closer tied with virtue: vanity calls
for self-deprivation. Yet there’s no nutritional
value to guilt, no forgiveness found in a cupcake.
God won’t care if I pluck my eyebrows each day;
my liver doesn’t judge my Netflix queue.

We cannot be good all at once. A body
holds only so many merits, but contains
ample space for all faults. So leave me
to my minor sins, to my everyday sacred
imperfection. I try to find beauty
in clean, pink lungs, in books read and friends
kept. Still I primp and dress and maquillage.
The body has never been simple, and someone
in the end must feed all the worms.

Caroline Tanski is a writer, editor, and former library assistant who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She earned her MFA from Chatham University and writes about her mother with alarming frequency.

Clemson University Links Web Site information Contact Clemson University Clemson University Site Index