Lauren J. Sharkey’s essay, ECHO, was selected as a *winner* in the Women Under Scrutiny:The (Dis)Comfort) of Our Bodies, Ourselves contest. Women Under Scrutiny, compiled by Randy Susan Meyers and edited by Nancy MacDonald, is an honest, intimate examination of the relationships we have with our bodies, hair, and faces, how we’ve been treated by the world based on our appearance—and how we have treated others. The women who created the serious, humorous, and courageous work in this anthology—women ages seventeen to seventy-six—represent an array of cultures and religions from across the United States. They are an extraordinary group of women who all share one thing: the ability to tell the truth.
It started small—having to catch my breath after going up the stairs, needing to recline my car seat back an inch…going up a size. “You might want to take some weight off,” said my general practitioner during my annual, never once lifting his eyes from the clipboard.
I looked down and surmised it wasn’t that serious. I mean, I could still see my feet. So, I did what everyone does: nothing. I mean, I told myself I would eat out less, exercise more, switch to diet soda. And I did all those things for about a week before going back to my routine of asking for extra bread at restaurants and late-night drives to Sonic.
All profits from Women Under Scrutiny will go to Rosie’s Place in Boston, Massachusetts. Rosie’s Place was founded in 1974 as the first women’s shelter in the United States with a mission to provide a safe and nurturing environment that helps poor and homeless women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives. Today, Rosie’s Place not only provides meals and shelter but also creates answers for 12,000 women a year through wide-ranging support, housing and education services.