by The Cowl Editor on September 23, 2021


a small girl who is crying
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

by Mariela Flores ’23

Content Warning: this piece contains content that could be triggering regarding eating disorders and body image. 

She called me llenita.  

Those words poked at my round belly,  

her eyes threw daggers into the soft flesh of my cheeks, 

her hands pinched my sides,  

as if she were trying to rip off the excess fat.  


At eight-years-old I was forced to notice my body,  

every tamale, pupusa, tortilla, weighed  

me down. 

I began to sink within myself.  

I had no strength at eight-years-old to carry  

the weight of being llenita.  


I noticed every curve–– 

the bluntness or the angles that protruded, 

the soft skin not yet tainted  

by the sharpness of my very own words.  


I listened as the women around me talked.  

Their voices held a dissonant tune  

notes and cadences crashing into one another. 

It reached my ears, 

the words dieta and gordita, joined the chorus leaving no room for a bridge.  


I had been called out and accused. 

They were the judge and juror sending me to a life sentence 

of questioning if I was too llenita, gordita, feita


They handed me rope that I would tie around my waist  

measuring my worth every single day.  

Llenita was tattooed onto my forehead.  

A reminder that being too full was the worst thing I could be. 


If I was llenita

no one would ever think I could be bonita.