Cover art is “Nightfall” by Marina Mika

 

By Kjersti McDonald

I gained 10 pounds in two months. I’d been switching my anxiety meds, trying to find one that worked with minimal side-effects. The stress of that on top of life, plus the fact that an actual side effect of most of those meds is weight gain, meant that when I went shopping for new dress pants last week, my new size was two sizes larger than I’ve been most of my adult life.

“Why does it matter that I’ve gained weight?” I thought. I know my worth is in no way connected to my body fat percentage. I know it doesn’t make me better at my job or make my husband love me more to have a smaller waist and more toned arms.

I know all of this, yet I was ashamed – disappointed that I’d “let myself go.”

I felt bad.

Then, I felt bad for feeling bad.

I immediately felt guilty, because every day I’m bombarded by Instagram posts and feminist memes about why our bodies are perfect the way they are and how no one size or shape is the right one. And I smash that like button. But I am sick of feeling guilty for not loving my body, and I am sick of everyone talking about loving how our bodies look because why does society get to comment on our appearance AT ALL?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that a movement opposing the toxic beauty standards set by society exists.

But can I be honest? I’m really over any and all discussion about appearance – whether it be critiquing our flaws or offering validation for our physical existence.

Yes, every body is beautiful, but I can’t wait until “beautiful” isn’t a validation we seek, but instead, a way we experience the world.

So I wrote a poem about it, because the feelings I have when I consider the utter ridiculousness that is our infatuation with appearance and attractiveness simply cannot be translated into digestible sentences.

 

“Body”

My body is a mountain

It contains multitudes –

Water, ice

Dirt, rock.

Immovable, unchangeable, unperceivable.

 

“Your body is beautiful

Just how it is.”

#selflove

#bodypositivity

It is not, though –

Beautiful, that is.

I want it to be

But why?

 

A vessel

A machine.

My body carries

All

That I am.

 

Can I really reduce it to

Beautiful?

Such a simple name

For a wondrous miracle.

 

What can it

Do?

When my muscles move,

Who do they move to help?

How do they rest

Revive

Refuel

Rejoice?

 

When the wolf looks in the lake

Does she wish she was

Softer

Silkier

Smoother

Sexier? No.

She feeds when she

Hungers.

She runs when she must

Or wants.

She fights.

She exists

Without a thought of her

Appearance.

 

Do not tell me how to feel about my

Body.

Do not tell me about my

Body.

It is not yours

To admire

To approve

To allow.

It exists for me

To use as a

Weapon –

To execute

My thoughts into existence.

 

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