Updated: Jul 1
Pigs by Dylanna Fisher for The Edmonton Story Slam
Here’s a story about one of God's creatures that in its lifetime goes from cute to cuisine. From Stuttering Porky Pig to pink pork sausages too quickly. When one thinks of pigs, images of Miss Piggy, Piglet, holiday ham, and back bacon flood to their mind. They ponder the differences between Canadian bacon and American bacon, between a pet pig, and a not pet pig.
I remember the day when the word pig was no longer innocent. I was seven. I was seven the first time somebody called me a pig and I knew they were not referring to a cartoon, home cooking or anything I could be proud of. Instead, they shot me at point-blank range with a single bullet, a single word, pig. It left an entrance wound to my heart, rattled up my throat-choking me until finally planting itself in my brain. Without an exit wound. From there, they watched my tear-soaked face mimic a draining carcass of pork. The tears ran red as it filled the empty tray in my chest. The pig carcass looked as if it were crying but it was only meat meant to live then die. It's funny how the flesh of a pig and the flesh of a little girl look the same sometimes.
I began to see myself as a pig’s peer. I sympathized with porky pig and his stutter. I flinched every time someone commented on the amount of fat on an Easter ham. Every picture of a wild boar being roasted over a spit made my skin burn as if licked by a campfire. In their mouths sat an apple to keep its squeals internal. I felt myself choking on that apple unable to cry out, unable to squeal.
Always the boar became to look like a mirror. The mirror I look in every day shows Wilbur without Charlotte's webs. I looked into that mirror and it was clear. A Sow's ear can’t make a silk purse and neither can pork make a princess. The clothes I put on my body, this body suffocates me like a pig in a blanket too tight.
My feet seem like hooves being forced into ladies fashion. As the seeds of the apple cut my throat, I continue the persona of the pig. I remain silent and seemingly ignorant. To this day I can’t talk to a doctor without hearing them mocking me. I fake a smile as my teacher mutters to themselves, a confirmation that the torture of my childhood never left. I pretend that I don’t notice how people look at me as I walk past them. That I don’t see how she looks at the body hidden under these clothes. I’ve seen the mixture of disgust and pity so often, they are inseparable, combined in my mind forever.
To this day that word, pig, has never been delicious. My stomach churns as I even think of placing it on my tongue.
I can’t take another serving, I refuse to get force-fed this holiday ham. I rip at the label on my jacket. It reads a fully cooked boneless smoked ham. It doesn’t say anything about less fat but it says 25% less sodium. Fuck that. Fuck what they say. I’m still raw. The blood pumping through these veins hasn’t been spilled yet and my spine.
I try to reject the persona of a pig placed upon me without my knowledge. I am not a pig. I am not a bacon trend. I am not a helpless piglet being slowly led to your slaughterhouse. I am not something to come out at your beck and call when you want something to roast over an open fire. My flesh is not for your consumption or amusement.
I am not a pig.
I am a human being, not Wilbur, not piglet, not bacon, not ham.
I’m not a pig.