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SmolFaerieBoi t1_ja6v1eo wrote

“But…you could’ve been anything.”

They stared at me, 4 sets of eyes widened with shock or squired in confusion. 4 sets of furrowed brows.

“I don’t want to be anything else.”

“Well, I just thought—“ said Kenzie.

Rob cut in “I mean we all have those days, and you have the opportunity—“

I cut them off with a raised hand. “You thought what? That’d I’d be insecure? That I dislike my body? That I’d jump on the chance to change it?”

I could feel their discomfort growing. No one wanted to actually say anything about someone’s body—not to their face, at least. My mother had taught me that.

Sighing, I plopped down on a stump and continued before they could try to shove their words back into their mouths. “You’re right.”

Melissa was the first to jump in. That was just the type of person she was: the Includer. Whether you wanted to or not, she’d give you disingenuous platitudes meant to make you feel like you less inadequate. I’d done it myself, back before I’d gotten too tired. “No, we didn’t mean—“

“You’re right!” I insisted. “I hate my body sometimes. Most times.”

There was a quiet in the air, like a sorrow at the sentiment—open admittance was always worse, because you couldn’t hide the meaning of the words, dance around the inconvenient truths…or make polite conversation. Maybe there was also a comforting finality, as if they thought I was ridding myself of a delusion of thinking I was more attractive than I was, and therefore worth something.

Another sigh.

“I don’t like my body. I can barely even tolerate it. And, to be honest, it’s always been like this. Since I was five, I’ve been self-conscious about my weight. Stressed over my common-colored hair and eyes, hated my moles and the furriness of my legs and I—“ I stopped. I wasn’t quite sure where to go after that, how to escalate from disclosing the biggest baggage on my shoulders. “I hate my body. But I think we all do a little.”

I looked around at my party, 4 other people I called friends because we met in a shitty apartment twice a month to play games and make jokes about movies we watched when we were younger. They all looked different. Zedd especially.

“We all hate how we look. We spend years of our lives wishing we could change. Putting our bodies through physical distress every day for the hope of slimming down or bulking up; cutting ourselves into pieces and sucking out and re-injecting to reconfigure what we consider a colossal failing of the genetic lottery. And if we ever get the chance, we take it. We become elves—“ I looked at Melissa, several inches taller, a little slimmer, chromatic eyes and pale blonde hair, glasses-free and unfreckled, curvier but not pudgier—“barbarians—“ I watched Rod, head ducked and eyes avoidant, about 100 pounds of pure muscle heavier and well over a foot taller than he’d been, the long hair he wasn’t brave enough to grow out in real life flowing free down his impossibly bulky back—“sorceresses—“ now to Kenzie, her dark, coily hair now loose curls brushed back with a headpiece, a red dress glued to her new curvy body like she was modelling a swimsuit—“and even those of us who fancy ourselves defiant, nonconformist, can’t bring ourselves to defy too much.”

I glanced at Zedd, who did look decidedly inhuman. He’d chosen a figure with curling horns, four purple eyes, and brick red skin, a forked tongue flicking out to lick his lips nervously. But still, there were a brand-new six pack, cut arms, and high cheekbones.

I stood up, a heaviness in my actions as I resigned myself to getting on with it.

“I could have chosen anything. I could have looked like anything. But I’m so fucking tired of hating myself. I’ve been doing it for 20 years. We ALL have.”

I gestured around at the group.

“We’ll never be EVERYONE’S version of sexy. That’s how beauty standards work. And some of us will never even get close.” I pointed to myself, 320 pounds, middling height, my split ends and few strands of prematurely grey hair, my hairy cheeks, sagging boobs, and double chin, dry hands and moles that dotted my arms and face.

“But who cares? Who fucking cares? I know we all do, but why? Why do we force ourselves to focus on how we look for a few moments rather than how we feel and act forever? I’m tired of people acting like your worth is determined by how they judge your size, your skin, your hair—I’m tired of guilting myself into running circles because people don’t value me for who I am. And if they’re not going to change, I’m going to make them. By loving myself so much the have no choice.”

I let that sink in, mostly so I could organize my thoughts.

“I could have been anyone. And as much as I want to, as much as I hate to pass this chance up, I have to. I have to do it now, to prove to myself that I value myself, every bit of it, flabby, saggy, boring, hairy, and old. Because if I don’t do it know, when will I ever? I get to go home after this is over and tell myself that I loved myself enough to love ALL of myself, and maybe that will be enough to start making me love myself for real. Now let’s tell Argamenous we’re ready and get this show on the road, okay?”


I stood up from the stump when the flaps of the changing tent moved. They stepped out, all four of them, different.

Kenzie was first, tight red dress clinging to her body—flat chested and proud, her hair twisted into braids and coiled on top of her head, a big beauty mark below her lip.

Rod followed, 5-foot-nothing and slim, wielding a hammer half his size because who gave a fuck when you had magic? His hair still flowed down his back, just short enough that he looked like battle-Rapunzel.

Zedd was next, rocking the horns and red face again, this time letting his leather vest hang open around his potbelly and sporting a bejeweled birthmark on his face.

And finally, Melissa, tying her hair behind her still-pointed ears, glasses framing her dark brown eyes and freckles tickling her nose and cheeks. She was wearing a dress that fit around her soft form in a way that would make an Instagram influencer recommend a two-week slimming green tea cleanse.

“We told Argamenous we were almost ready,” she said from beside me. “Are you ready?”

I smiled. “Yeah.”

We walked into the portal, framed in glowing gold light against the sunset. We’d never looked better.


Martinus_XIV OP t1_ja75qzw wrote

I absolutely love this. I intended to get people to think about what they or other people would change about themselves if they could, and this is a beautiful piece of commentary on that!


Mera_Green t1_ja7ks81 wrote

I am going to very unpopular.

My thoughts on the viewpoint character are: "What a selfish, stupid AH."

It's very feel-good to want to love your body, but let's face it, the character is morbidly obese and by the sound of it, grossly unfit. And has been summoned to fight on behalf of a god in a magical realm which is not going to have modern conveniences. They are hopelessly incapable of doing anything even remotely risky, since any form of combat will lead to them dying, or their friends spending a lot of effort keeping them alive at risk to themselves. This is someone who cannot (pardon the expression) pull their weight. They are a genuine liability.

Were they in the normal world, then sure, love yourself if you want. Go for it. More power to you. But to not only refuse to do anything to ensure that you can do the job required, and to try to shame others about their decisions to upgrade themselves is appalling. Sure, the others added flaws reminiscent of their original bodies, and that's okay, but the viewpoint character won't even go that far. This is someone who does not understand that the world doesn't care about how they feel, and that when they get torn apart by demons, or their friends do while trying to protect their sorry ass, then it may just become apparent that it was a truly terrible idea.

This was an amazing opportunity, and would require you to really earn it with the rather major quest that they were being sent on. It certainly wasn't free! They didn't need to be perfect, they just needed to be capable of successfully completing the quest. And that requires work and a lot of danger. They need to put aside their personal biases and think of other people, such as their friends whose lives they are endangering, and the people of the world who are relying on them to save it.

It's well-written but I certainly didn't admire the viewpoint character, rather I was disgusted. I saw them as an example of a self-centered person who is blind to the realities of the situation and expects everyone and everything to conform to their wishes. I very much hope that this was the intended plan.


Martinus_XIV OP t1_ja7ydva wrote

At the risk of putting words into the author's mouth, I think this story is less about being OK with being overweight or about it being bad to want to change yourself, and more about not giving in to societal beauty standards. All of the characters kept the changes to themselves that they liked. The point is that they re-examined which changes they made to themselves because they wanted to, and what they did because of societal pressures.

Kenzie did away with what society told her was sexy and kept only what she herself needed to feel sexy.

Rod stopped caring about having to appear masculine and instead found a way to live out his power fantasy as a more authentic version of himself and have the long hair he always wanted.

It's implied that Zedd only gave his monstrous form a washboard because he felt he was supposed to. Perhaps he is an artist who learned to draw by imitating DBZ or something in a similar style.

Finally, Melissa is written as though she only feels that her freckles, her glasses and her figure are ugly because she has been told so by others - bullies, influencers, society in general. When she takes a step back to consider how she herself feels, she realizes that she likes these parts of herself.


s-mores t1_ja8592f wrote

First off, I don't disagree with you. My first reaction to the prompt response was "Meh. As self-righteous indignant speeches go, I've heard better" (if you get the reference, shout out!).

However, you have to understand the prompt response is so amazingly genre-conscious it's insane. Isekai is all about exploring the what-if, the transformation, the difference between real and fantasy (and power trips and harems, of course, but that's just Japan being Japan). I could 100% see this rant as something at the start or midway point of an isekai show, absolutely. So the author absolutely, completely nailed it.

It's also about never trusting first glances and impressions -- maybe this rant was exactly what the group needed to get on track, or maybe it gets them killed in the next episode.

Also considering isekai target audience.. yeah, you really don't want to overthink them.


raqshrag t1_ja7uiro wrote

I believe you when you say you're disgusted. But don't pretend it's just in the context of realistic conformity to the practical needs of the plot. After all, it's just a short make-believe story that isn't even about the quest you put so much focus on. You make it quite clear that what you find disgusting is the idea of people who are overweight according to modern standards. You're lying about your perspective at the beginning of your second paragraph. I don't know if you care whether people notice, but I thought maybe you would be interested in knowing how obvious you're making it. If you really want to hide your true opinion, you should be more subtle.