Image by the author

For the Girls Who Cannot See Themselves

Stephanie Eisler Vance
2 min readDec 8, 2021


I hold in my hands a mirror. I hold it up to you, but you wince and look away. Or, you find, with lightning speed, the needle in the haystack that won’t stop pricking you, and calling you ugly, fat, unworthy. Your eyes find the needle immediately, but they are blind to the scars it creates.

It’s not an eating disorder if you can’t see it.

“Healthy” means “skinny,” that’s obvious.

When do you become too big to love?

You may not see much value in a haystack, but it was good enough for Monet, so what does that say? So busy looking for a needle, you miss the crinkle in your smiling eyes, the way you walk when you are feeling yourself. To extract the needle would be to reject what you have been told by people you trust, but might we use it for something other than a weapon?

Use it to weave yourself a blanket on which to rest because I am tired of seeing you tired. Use it to suture those self-inflicted wounds, knowing what hurts can also heal if you only look at it right. Enough tearing yourself down from the ground up:

Legs should be slimmer, no gap between the thighs — we all know our worth comes from absence. Hips out to here, ass even wider, look at that cellulite, how disgusting. Could really use a tummy tuck, breasts too big or too small, strike a pose, need that skinny arm, oh my god my double chin.

I feel it from the top of my head to the soles of my feet, you are assessing me. And whether that’s true makes no difference — this negative feedback loop is constancy itself, fueled by, well, basically everything, and I, enlightened being, master of my own destiny, cannot stop calling myself fat.

When I hold this mirror up to you, know that I also hold it up to myself. And if you are brave enough to gaze upon yourself, and you see anything but a vessel for beauty and strength and then some, take another look because you, my dear, are a work of art.

See yourself. And I will try my best to do the same.

I’m on Instagram, etc. [at] stephmakesfaces and on stages in NYC.



Stephanie Eisler Vance

On modern madness, within and without. / stephmakesfaces / MADE OF YOU available now: