On Learning to Love My Body

I was born tiny, petite

I was shorter than my classmates

Thinner than my friends

I could count the ribs beneath my skin

Fingers tapping tunes like a skeletal piano

And as I got older

I was taught to hate this body

Told that “small” meant “weak”

So I grew

Hoping for a day when I would stop hating this body

When I was fifteen 

I saw the difference between myself and the other girls

I had that “hourglass” figure

But my shoulders were too broad with arms too big 

I had a waist that wasn’t thin enough

There was no gap between my thighs

And my belly jiggled when I danced

So I carved silver into my skin so I could be stained red with pain

Because I hated this body

Sometimes I still do

Because when I look into the mirror

All I see are rolls and cellulose

Big arms and stretch marks

I hide under high-waisted shorts and false confidence

When I look at the women around me

And see that I’m not them

I covet their beauty

And hate myself 

I envy their ability to fill the cookie cutter definition
That I was taught to be the only meaning of the word

Then I hated them for being more beautiful than me

Not realizing that my jealousy was what was making me truly ugly

Not my body

But my heart

Because I was taught to hate this body

Taught that it will never be good enough

Made to think that there is only one definition of the word beauty

And that I could never fulfill it

I don’t want that anymore

This body-

My body was made to move

It was made to be celebrated 

It is a temple, a place of worship

It holds a mind and soul worthy of love

It is a work of art

And so what if it doesn’t appeal to everyone

Because you know something 

Sometimes I don’t like it very much either

But that’s okay

Because my body isn’t perfect 

It is flawed

And I am and always will be my greatest critic 

But I will no longer let that stop me 

This body has carried me well for all these years

And I won’t let anyone silence the songs of praise I sing to it

Not even myself

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