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Where I Hid the Bodies


That’s where I hid the bodies. Where else would I put them? Where else would they go?

First, I hid the bodies inside of me. Slowly, slowly; year by year.

My parents talked of diets before I knew what those even were. Junk food wasn’t my weakness, just too much of everything else, and meat and potatoes were just as good as hours of basketball and biking.

Mom and my doctor weren’t concerned, until Dr. Keys died and the new guy used a new word: obese. Why that word to describe me when there were so many others to choose from?

Like strong?



Every yearly physical, I tiptoed onto the scale, knowing it had gone up but praying the fifty laps I’d run around our yard the day before had undone my lack of “portion control”: another new vocab word from doc.

Friends didn’t use those words; they just poked my chest to see what boobs felt like, too young to understand that six year olds don’t have real boobs. My extra body just needed a place to go.

But then my actual boobs joined the party earlier than most of my classmates’. Ashamed to change for gym class. Ashamed of hiding my new extra body in some hammock. It was nothing but sports bras for years, until my thirteen-year-old body traded spandex uni-boob for lacy dividing and conquering for my sister’s wedding.

I didn’t mind hiding my extra body in high school; I was smart, and I knew it, and I was funny, and I knew it. I was young and in love with someone who kind of loved me back.

Then that guy broke my heart, and I took my body to college in Minnesota, to bigger and better things.

The freshman fifteen didn’t come until my sophomore year when I discovered that the perfect dessert was a full bowl of cereal after every meal. My friends were doing it—why shouldn’t I? Not the type of peer pressure I’d been warned about.

So slowly, slowly, I added more body to myself.

Then Mom died, and I was grief incarnate, carried around by the pound.

Adding forty was a piece of cake—or rather, stress-filled spoonfuls of peanut butter.

Adding twenty was different. It was gradual and full of healing. A boy liked me. I liked him back. We were happy.

We got married.

And in my comfort, joy, and acceptance, I added forty more.

Then one day, Dad had yet another heart episode, and I panicked. Three bodies wouldn’t lead to a long, happy life. Three bodies would encourage my genetic time bombs to detonate: cancer, heart disease, diabetes.

I put my bodies outside beneath a two-mile stretch of sidewalk in Highland Park. Again and again I traversed that concrete, until I ran out of room. Then I hid them under three miles, under four. Did neighbors know what bodies I hid as I circled our block?

Five miles, six miles led my spree to Lake Phalen, and they put a medal around my neck after my second lap. Was I the best at hiding bodies? Or maybe I was a war hero doing battle with myself for twelve laps around Como Lake.

It wasn’t just outside. It was a game of Clue—me in the kitchen with the paring knife. I trimmed fat off meat; I roasted up veggies. And I ate.

Unlike previous attempts where hiding bodies meant 700 calories a day, trying to starve them away, I fed, nourished, and healed my body.

And you know what it told me then?

Just because you’re happy with extra bodies, with extra bites of food, with hours on the couch, doesn’t mean you won’t be happy without those things.

Loving yourself doesn’t depend on one body or three.

Loving yourself is choosing not to hide the bodies anymore.

Story: JORDAN HIRSCH wishes she could spend all of her time watching Star Trek, but she also enjoys cooking,reading, writing, and running, so she spends time doing that too. Originally from southern Illinois, she lives in the Como Park neighborhood with her husband and their two perfect cats.


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