Saturday, 13 July 2013

My (as yet untitled) ECP; (I).

I'm doing an ECP (Extended Creative Project) in Creative Writing, in my final year of university. It's going to be a collection of personal memoirs, musings, observations and stories I've collected from others, all on the subject of body confidence, or lack thereof. I'm hoping to write it in the style of a series of blog posts/magazine feature pieces; there will be accompanying photos (thanks to my wonderful confident friends) and hopefully, maybe, some of it will change people's minds. That's all I could ask for.
Feedback would be wicked awesome, y'all.
Here's a draft of one section...

Physical education.
Unbutton blouse, pull polo shirt over head, slip button-up off the shoulders, pull polo down; nobody will see. Deep breath, and go. Done. Then, tights down under skirt, have shorts ready by feet, bend carefully, slip shorts over ankles and jump, very subtly now... Check shorts are around waist firmly. Unzip skirt, pull down comfortably, all the while making sure shorts are secure. Sit down gently on cold metal bench, keep quiet because one loud metallic CLANG and you’re anybody’s; all eyes will be on you, and that’s the last thing we want, right? Pull on socks, lace up trainers, five double-checks that the shapeless flesh-coloured bra isn’t peeking through the super-thick white cotton, and you’re good to go. Walk out the door with your head down, likewise through the corridor and out onto the field. Self-consciously pat your head, flatten your hair, you knew an obnoxious high ponytail was far too outrageous, you silly girl. Cross your arms across your chest as you run down the field, we wouldn't want any unnecessary jiggling to draw attention. The stretch marks on your legs can’t be helped any more than the pimples on your face, but hey, you’re only fourteen, it’s normal right? Although, if it’s so normal, why don’t any of the other girls seem to have these problems?

Marissa is a picture of grace, pale and sleek, effortlessly sprinting to the groundskeeper’s shed, drawing all the male gaze as she goes. Her hair shimmers like dark ocean waves at midnight, falling down her back and then being picked up by the breeze. She has a tiny waist and perfectly round breasts; you can see through her shirt. She has a little lingering fat on her upper thighs, the same lumpy bumps that I have, so that's okay I suppose. Nobody would ever notice it, though. She'd never get pushed and poked in the changing room.

Eleanor’s PE polo shirt is faded and tinged blue from being washed poorly. I wonder if she’s noticed. ‘It's a clear indicator of her home life’, says the TA under her breath to the other teachers. Her shorts are too short; her rugby player-legs are on full display. She's proud, and it’s kind of awesome. In the changing rooms, she whipped off her blouse and was showing everyone who’d turn and look this little blue-purple mark on her belly, right above the button; ‘It's a love bite,’ she announces proudly, ‘from my boyfriend – you won’t know him, he goes to the boys' grammar school...’ She’s also wearing a bright white bra with little red strawberries all over it. She’s had an impressive chest since Year Five. Good on her, I guess. She's not ashamed, ever.

Hallie has terrible ugly stretch marks all down the backs of her legs, like someone painted directly onto her skin with a twig and some purple paint. She has freckles that connect in the sun and leave her with big brown blotches on her cheeks and across the bridge of her nose. She gets heartburn, anxiety and panic attacks when doing Track. She likes the shot-put, though. Her arms are thick and strong. She hates it. If only she knew how many of us hate our weedy frames and our skinny wrists.

This is all true, it all happened to me, way back when. The people are also real, however I thought it best to change their names - so all 'characters' are named after the TV/film/book characters I thought they best resembled. It's a work in progress, and it's really fun (and at times, impossible) to write.

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