I will not say sorry.
I will not say sorry for the gene pool mixture of biological wonder and awe that I am today. I simply refuse to climb the all too familiar climb into the comfort zone I call my bed, and ashamedly hide myself in its contour blurring covers like a troll under a bridge, from what the over-paid, under-talented ad-execs and touch up artists deem “beautiful.” The succulent meat on my bones will not be eaten away by the front cover of the magazine that condescendingly informs me, such a lowly consumer in this capitalist world, in the voice vaguely reminiscent of the over-eager late night TV-salesman, how I can achieve perfection. And consequently, like a rabid canine, savagely ripping apart my low self-esteem and poor body image. Like my body needs to reach some sort of ultimate nirvana by soaking in this liquid beauty based on the falsified notion that when I open the magazine, the first girl I see is superior. That her unstressed china-doll complexion and Pilates-toned thighs are exactly what beauty should be. That beauty is not this blend of an awe-inspiring cosmic array with dimensions yet to be explored. That within this magnificent array there is not a spot for everyone. That all the good seats on the short-bus stenciled “beauty” are full, and the rest of us have to wait at the stop with the hope that with the next break of exhaust and rubber chafing of the opening doors, that there will be a spot for us, but there never is.
I will not say sorry for the resulting jiggle in my thighs as I walk down the street, with nothing but the weight of my backpack on my shoulders, in my size 26 jeans. And as I lay naked on my bed, the beams of the golden daytime sun reflect off my iridescent stretch marks I’ve had since middle school. But they are the scars of a warrior. The warrior who fought rejection with her head held high; whose breasts grew too fast because she liked the quickly dwindling taste of decadent chocolate melting in her mouth. The warrior who waited until the bath was running loud and high to let out the tears leaving the delicate crevice of her eye, flowing as quickly as the bath water, resonating at the same frequency, unable to decipher between them, and scribble self-deprecating words in the fuzzy magenta diary she named “skinny.”
I will not say sorry for the knobby, inverted knees that support the strength and courage of this hourglass shaped teenage girl that stands before you today. The girl who no longer wishes she was skinny like Flat Stanley, the fictitious character who slid under doorposts and in-between bookshelves. The girl whose body is a deity and deserves to be worshiped and not criticized like the popes of the Catholic Church.
I will not say sorry for the nose on my face, adding what can seem like miles to my profile, and once the subject of anti-Semitic propaganda that killed 6 million of my people because they did not meet the physical criteria of an angry German man with a bad mustache. The people who wandered through the desert, the people who despite their successes still yearn to be accepted against the ski-sloped nosed, beach blonde, blue-eyed brute force that is the gentile.
I will not say sorry for the freckle on the outskirts of my forehead, my identifier, reminding me I am special, I am beautiful. The notion I am beautiful, that you are beautiful; that we are beautiful is no longer just the phrase my mother would guiltily spurt out in the Macy’s dressing room when the jeans were a bit too tight. These words were the preventative measure, the deterrent for the nuclear weapons that are my tears that would soon explode from my eyes, unless my mother picked up the red phone and spoke those maternal words that I could never really believe, but comforting nonetheless.
I will not say sorry for the many years it took to no longer just glance at the lavishly adorned invite to beauty and self acceptance, but to mark on the RSVP card that “YES, I AM BEAUTIFUL!” and “I’ll be having the salmon.” Without the Yin of self-acceptance, the Yang of beauty remains distant and penciled-in like a tentative date on the calendar. Because without each other, beauty is nothing but the artificial, laminated ads that only show us what we are not, and fail to display what we are. Because what we are--- is beautiful. And for that, I will never say sorry.