Between Scraping My Knee And Does This Dress Hug My Curves

I didn’t notice you

at first

and if I did

it was through scrapes

and bug bites

a too tight ponytail

or how high I had to swing the jump rope

so it went over our head.

 

Soon you became more important―

I looked to you

with doubts and questions

and you answered them each day

as I twisted and turned

in front of the mirror.

 

When I was younger

you gave me basic answers:

I will stand in the back

of my school’s spring concert

and I would excel in sports

like tennis and volleyball.

 

As I got older

your answers multiplied

and became more complex

and sometimes they made me cry

by myself in my room

as I asked you

why

you were like this.

 

You are my body.

 

You told me

I couldn’t do ballet

I would never be cute

I will find boys attractive so someday

I can find a man

who will give me children

and a happy ever after.

 

My hands pinch and probe you before I go to shower

and you warn me to avoid foods that make

my face red and pimpled and my skin stretched with white

 

because boys won’t find that beautiful.

 

When I get ready for prom you remind me that I can’t wear heels and I ask you does this dress hug my curves to which you say of course not and I clench my fists just to stop myself from

 

screaming.

 

Some days I hate you

so much

I would trade you

for another

in a heartbeat

just so I never have to

see you again

or maybe just to see

different answers.

 

But I don’t hate you

all the time

there are some moments

when I glance at you

and smile

because my beach days end

in tan skin and not sunburns

and my eyelashes naturally curve.

 

Sometimes I’m proud of you

because your height helps me

hit hundred mile per hour serves

and my hair needs minimal effort to stay straight

and I can say my eyes are brown and green.

 

I don’t like to admit this

but I need you

when I walk down the street

or shake someone’s hand

when I put on a dress

that doesn’t hug my curves

to dance with my best friends at prom.

 

Conveniently I forget

that the answers you give me

aren’t really answers

just reflections of what

other people

tell me to believe

as I twist and turn and pinch and probe in the mirror.

 

Maybe what I’m trying

to tell you

is that without you

I wouldn’t be myself

without you I can’t tell people

my eyes are brown and green

or that I can hit hundred mile per hour serves.

 

Maybe I want to thank you

for always being there

when I took my first steps

when I slipped and scraped my knee on the sidewalk

when I danced at prom with my best friends.

 

You give me so much

that I take for granted

that I criticize and pinch and probe so hard that my skin turns white then

red

and hatred for you

burns

inside me.

 

So when I look in the mirror

and yell and cry

just remember that sometimes

I need more time

more time to love the parts of you

everyone tells me

to hate.

 

Yes, my memory of you

in the beginning

is vague

yes, at times I wish

that I could change you

but somewhere between

scraping my knee and

does this dress hug my curves

I learned

to love you.

 

You are my body, yes

but you are more than that.

 

It’s not always clear

how I figured it out

But somewhere between

I hate you

and

I love you,

 

I found me.

 

This poem is about: 
Me

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