Kept Miniature in Size

A flash creative nonfiction essay I wrote about female bodies and contorted flowers was recently published in The Baltimore Review! READ IT HERE!

As an adult, I enjoy exploring the layers of the gymnastics training of my childhood. Now, watching a prepubescent, muscle-bound girl flipping and twisting through the air, I am filled with awe and questions. It is beautiful, but is it natural? It is impressive, but is it healthy? I do think it is possible to be a healthy gymnast. I had an amazing experience through college and then as a coach. Yet it is also a moment, especially in light of coach abuse breaking in the news, to ask curious questions

The first time I witnessed and read about the art of contorting flowers, similar tension presented itself. Phrases like meticulously pinched and forced budding resonated in my chest and hooked onto my bones. I knew I wanted to foil kiku against my experience as a woman in the world. In ‘Kept Miniature in Size,’ I address beauty, power and trauma in the female body through the lens of training flowers.

I started playing with the idea of female bodies and kiku back in graduate school. Seven years later, it is an essay I’m proud to share.