Dedicated to all the young women in my life.
Fitness is marketed as an extreme, elite club. That isn’t the case, and we need to talk about it.
We inherit the way we perceive our bodies. We chose to raise the next generation that way.
My thunder thighs don’t say temple.
My stretchmarks are not stones where monks kneel.
My bruises and scars are not made of stained glass.
My body isn’t a temple.
is capable of recovery and growth.
It meditates in the miracle of healing.
It’s not stagnant, not easily broken.
I don’t think they know what my body isn’t– only what it is.
And to them, it is a site of worship.
The focus and reverence on my skin,
wordless prayers on my lips–
I can tell I am church to this person.
That this is a pilgrimage they’ve made.
I don’t know all the lovers and deserts they’ve fasted through,
What seas of strangers they’ve parted to be here,
Testifying at the center of me.
I don’t know what sermons they’re saying,
but I feel what they mean,
what they mean in this monotheistic moment.
This person makes me feel like this is the only god they could ever fathom praising.
I am not my own temple.
Any temple that’s suffered the wreckage I have would never survive.
But this can be a temple for someone else,
their sanctuary for visiting touch.
We become shelters for those who honor us enough to let them stay.
Because we are all each other will ever have.
The story of a young woman and her body. Please be aware sensitive and mature content is discussed within this post.
It’s monsoon season within,
All expansion without limit or control.
I pray for it to end,
The weight gain is taking its toll.
Swallowing grows easier,
But it’s no consolation prize.
I’m nauseated at the shrinking space between my thighs.
They’ve ripped my crutch away from me.
I’m powerless to stand.
It’s not the lack of bulimia that makes me shaky but their growing demands:
Do this! Do that!
Don’t be bulimic, but don’t get fat.
Duck tape over your feelings, numbers, and signs,
When it comes to body autonomy,
It’s best you resign.
Prescription pads hums an artificial concern
Of pharmaceutical monopolies and mom’s frustration,
My lack of progress is their devastation.
I waste in support groups, therapy, and all the right steps.
Meanwhile, my gloom paves new depths.
It’s monsoon season in this broken body I’m forced to claim.
There are days recovery is so consuming I forget my name.
For now, I’ll gather my broken pieces—
Skin and cerebral—
Assemble an internal steeple.
The sticks and stones house the hurt,
But why then, did words form cacophonic scars around my wrists?
Why did they persuade me to flee from the phone—terrified of the acne faced and braced monsters on other end?
Message inside the fleets of spits balls hurled in my direction, my space jeers at my imperfections
I turned the words on myself—allowed their demons to infect me
The toxic syllables, forming wicked symphonies, my tragic melody
The fear that ravaged my insides, “You too fat!”
“Every last bit of you is used and unwanted from your fat ass to liver bile!”
My insides shrieked and raged for years on end, until I was as frail and weak and broken on the outside as much as within.
Drowning in a sea of Lexapro and choked by my barbed-wire scars, there was no terrain or mist—just the indefinite abyss.
It swished me around and swallowed me.
And when I was spit out, I was debris.
But as I learned, ruin is a gift.
The vocabulary adhesive had washed off of me.
My wrecked remains were the titanium that survived their language.
And so they assembled—shards of intelligence and compassion and persistence all fused together.
I became a Venus de Milo of resilience,
A Boadicea of acceptance.
Measuring my life in smiles and joy, instead of purges and cuts
Their sticks became my kindling,
Their stones my jewelry,
But their words are fossils—
Evidence that they (and I) were wrong.
Wide Hipped, supple-lipped
How I mutilated your alabaster planes,
Dissected your divine abundance,
I hated you.
Battered your matter to a gaunt shell,
Dyed it with bruises and speckled in scars
Manifestation of my insecurity that you inhaled
The elixirs I imbibed,
How easy they made it for me to abandon you,
Rendering you victim to unwanted hands and darkened plans,
I burned your wild curls,
Tamed the natural ringlets.
That nose edges over slightly to one side–
I wanted a scalpel to erase it.
I wanted a doctor’s straw to sip and suck at my stomach and thighs,
Remove all my softness,
Make my hourglass a line.
With purges and fasts and hours running like the thief of my being,
I tried to shrink.
When you wouldn’t contract,
I tried to vacate you,
But your intangible strength assuaged my pain.
You held on and thrived.
You are the miracle.
The speed of your stride, the sway of your hips,
The grin of your lips,
The universe at the meeting of your ample thighs,
This is my atonement and a love letter to you.
My darling, marvelous body:
Porous melodic perfection
Seamstress of my reveries
Composer of my emotions
Drummer to my rants, raves and commotions
Host to my ascending soul
You are beautiful, infinite, and whole.