I have always looked like this.
My thighs have never known to be separate, housed under the same stomach that rolls like the ocean on a winters day My skin has always been red, mismatched and bumpy, freckles lining my back like awkward constellations showing the story of my life, kisses from angels my grandmother would tell me. She took me to the doctor once, I was sprouting these bumps on my heavy arms along that same mismatched silk that was my body.
I learned from a young age that black is what slims you down, to never wear horizontal strips so as your hips will be made wider than the mouth of the hippopotamus you will become, and always eat off of blue plates
Or maybe it was red?
I can never remember because my head was clouded by these voices that told me to look thinner. Thinner, blonder, quieter, nicer, smaller, kinder.
So much more than what I was, and so much less, never enough to silence the voice that yelled at me to be everything and nothing
When I was seven years old, my grandmother gave me a laxative. Now, I know that is a lot of information but it will go on to explain why a year later I would sit in the bathroom and yearn to disappear.
I was eight years old, and my favorite music was the sound of the toiled after it flushed. She would ask me if I was okay after she found me on the third day, fear that she created a monster that would eventually do just that.
I would be thirteen years old when I would feel that way again. I would drink thirteen bottles of water a day, my stomach churning with the desire to shed off what I hoped was "water weight"
The word that would claw at my throat, making me pinch my softness with each hand and pull, hoping that it would go away if I tried hard enough.
The summer after ninth grade would be the end. That was the summer that the back of my throat became my best friend. The symphony from when I was eight would come back again, pulling me in deeper into loathing and hate.
No one teaches you to hate, but to love. Love is what is learned.
Slowly after that summer, I broke away from the bonds that shackled my spirit and my body.
I had to learn to have love flow out of every crack, and crevice, and curve that is me.
The process of self-love is one that is not easy or simple.
I wish with every fiber of my being that it was easy to look into the mirror and fall in love with my stretch marks that line my stomach, feeling pride in showing the world that my soul is too big for my earthly body.
I wish that it was simple to fall in love with the scars along my knees and my elbows from where I have fallen because life at times is too hard to hold up.
Learning to love yourself is hard
It is hard to believe that you are good, and the vessel that holds your dreams, and kindness, and joy, and happiness, and pain, and rage, and passion is good enough.
Not just for everyone else, but for yourself.
A girl once told me I was bold, she said it as a fleeting comment something that should be gone with the wind, like it did not hold the power to change my life.
That is how I am learning to see myself, not as someone who is broken, and ugly, and full of hate. I am learning to see the good. I am learning to see the bold, and the beautiful, and the dammitt I look good.
I am learning to see it all.
Humans were made to be messy, and it has taken me seventeen long years, but I am finally understanding that I am not exception to the rule, that I too have to battle the demons that try to bring me down and there is only one way to battle the days that I see nothing good in the mirror because sometimes that mirror lies.
I will make my battle cry "I love me", and not in vanity, but in solidarity because if I cannot love who I am than how can I ever apperciate or understand the love of any other human who raises their hand to fight with me.
My body will be a battle ground, and I can tell you now, I will win.
This is where I will make my mark, this is where I will make my stand, I will cover my body with a ninety-five thesis that would put Martin Luther to shame, and this will be the first declamation of my new name:
My body. My love.