The Taste of Shame | Honey Sanaa

My student called me a fat bitch today
Because I gave him detention
When he stage-whispered his insult into his tucked chin,
I felt it crawl its way down my throat
Felt it churn in my stomach
Want to vomit it out
Like I did dinner last night.

When his classmates laugh and give him high-fives
The little girl across the room,
Who still carries her baby weight like a security blanket
She buries her head further into the doodle
She’s been scribbling on her page
I hear her silently pray to disappear before they notice her too

I wonder how many times I have prayed the same thing

Like last Sunday,
During the weekly phone call from my mother
Her greeting doesn’t ask me how I’ve been
Or even what state I am currently in
She asks, “So how much weight have you lost?”
As if I wasn’t insecure enough about where I stand in her affections
Being the 7th of her 10 children
Now I know
My only value to her will be in the number of compliments she will get about me
From her church friends

I didn’t eat anything for the rest of that day
As her shame worked it’s way through my digestive system
It is a familiar taste,

It’s the same taste I remember
From the time my ex-fiance dropped my hand
When his buddy made a comment about my size
Just loud enough for us to overhear
It’s the same taste I remember
when he said he forgot something at home
Then dropped me off at our door
Without bothering to come inside and get the thing he forgot.

This shame tastes like binging on fritos and cheese dip
Until I vomit
So that I associate the two tastes
And never want to eat them again

It tastes like 2 a.m.
Hugging the toilet to rid my body of the peppermint I ate
Because its sugar content was too high
It tastes like failure
When I check the scale at the gym and
See the spinning numbers keep rising. Or
Feeling winded at the gym
Just from climbing the steps to get in the front door

It’s never going back to the gym
Because I hate the sound of my own heavy breathing.
It feels like killing myself slowly
Because this body is too heavy
To do anything quickly these days

It is the anxiety I feel at getting on a plane
Because I’m afraid I’ll be asked to buy a second seat I can’t afford.

I want to yell at this kid
For reminding me of all of the fear that nests in these bones
But I don’t
Instead I send him to the office for the curse word
Ask the teacher next door to listen out for my kids as they work
And I make a beeline for the bathroom
If I hurry
I can still get out the salad I ate for lunch
Before my body fully digests it.

Honey Sanaa is a spoken word artist from New Orleans, Louisiana by way of Mississippi.  She is an educator by day, who holds 3 higher education degrees, including a Master’s degree in secondary education.  Honey is the co-founder of C.H.A.O.S.:  Collective Hip-Hop, An Artistically Original Society.  C.H.A.O.S. is a campus-based arts organization founded to help art students at the University of Southern Mississippi learn and grow in their particular branch of the arts.

Honey has traveled from New York to Florida to California sharing her words with audiences as an individual and as a part of Team Slam New Orleans, affectionately known as Team SNO.  Honey is entering her second year in slam and is already ranked 4th in the Women of the World Poetry Slam.  She is the current Last Chance Slam Champion from Women of the World Poetry Slam 2016.

In 2012 she published her first collection of poems entitled Firefly Kisses. Honey’s work focuses on the intersections of race, womanhood, coping with trauma, and body positivity in today’s society where all of these are undervalued and underrepresented.

For booking please contact Honey directly:

Twitter:  @HoneySanaa
Instagram:  @HoneySanaa
SnapChat: @HoneySana


Respond to this piece.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s