My Shoulders

Every time another outfit is ruined by the dress code,

I hear somebody say this:

"OMG, why can't girls wear tank tops?

Boys don't care about sexy shoulders, right?"


But I think tank tops are okay,

And that is because I love my shoulders!

I love my shoulders because

When I have a job to do, I push them back

And my body tells my mind that things just got serious.

I love my shoulders because

They're my second set of hands.

I can use them to hold doors open

And carry things

And flip light switches

And hold my phone when I have to multitask.

I love my shoulders because]

When the seasons change, they're the first to know.

They get to feel the fresh air in May

And get cozy warm under fleece in October.

I love my shoulders because

No matter how many times I've been told

To put back that donut/pizza/icecream/frenchfries/cherrycoke

The reason has never been

"Because it'll go straight to your shoulders."

I love my shoulders because

They remind me of Sunday mornings as a little kid,

Not even tall enough to reach the bowl by the church door,

A parent's hand tracing mine over my face and chest;

And now, even though

I can reach the holy water but I don't reach for it,

I still appreciate the gentle guidance of my first lessons in God.

I love my shoulders because

They are my body's Venn diagram,

A three-way intersection of Strength, Wisdom, and Beauty.

I love my shoulders because

They are home to my life story.

If you look closely, you can see imprints of

An American Girl doll's face

A musician's tentative arm

Bruises from thrown punches and thrown insults

Midnight naps with sore throats and winter coats

Bloody noses and the stems of broken roses

Burnt CDs, burnt skin and burnt bridges

TV marathons on Thursday nights

Tears from real breakups

Tears from fictional breakups

Tears from laughing so hard we couldn't move

And tears from just having to be.

I love my shoulders because

Someday, contrary to popular belief,

A boy will tell me I have sexy shoulders

And after that he'll say

"But what does it matter?

The important thing is that

We both cried during 'The Angels Take Manhattan'

And put peanut butter on our Fritos

And think that the acoustic version of 'Jasey Rae'

Is better than the original.

I love my shoulders because

I love with them.

I use them for

Comforting a friend who has nowhere else to rest her head,

Lulling a restless cousin to sleep,

Supporting an elderly family member who has gained wisdom with her years,

But lost a bit of balance.

I love my shoulders because

They were a source of epiphany for me:

First that hey, I had really nice shoulders!

And second that it was the first time in so long

That I had looked in my mirror

And found the satisfaction I had been missing

Since I misplaced it on a beach

The previous summer.

I love my shoulders because

Why shouldn't I?

I should not have to grow up in a culture

That forces me to pick out all my flaws

And then pay in more than money

To have them "fixed."

I love my shoulders because

They allow me to hold my head up high,

Look society in its misshapen face

And say

"I am NOT afraid of you anymore!"

So here is my challenge:

Let me show my shoulders!

I value them too much to keep them covered.

I may be the only girl in the whole world

Who thinks that her shoulders are her best feature;

But I exist, and I LOVE MY SHOULDERS,

And I will display them like a trophy

If it gives me some self-confidence.

Oh, and one last thing about my shoulders:

I love my shoulders because

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

So if today I can love my shoulders,

Maybe tomorrow I will love

All the parts of myself scattered throughout this town

Enough to gather them up again.




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