a search for home: a body positive poem

by lydia christensen

A letter to Society: you did not create me. there is blood beneath my skin that carries the messages of my heart to every corner of my body. what you did...it filled my heart with pain with every breath and every pump, my heart sent shards of glass to the edges of my body. your plague infested my blood cells. i couldn’t move. you incarcerated me in confusion and guilt and fear and pain. but unlike you, i know that i am more than that. And everyday, i will remind my heart to sing. I will remind myself that i am so much more than blood cells and shards of glass. I will know that you did not create me. 

I create me. 

You see, I was force fed shame from the silver spoon of societal expectation. When i was young, i was my own salvation running and playing free of inhibition and fear and darkness. As years passed i transformed into my own damnation. After I learnt to walk, i was expected to be ashamed of the legs that carried me. The skin where my thighs meet has started internal civil wars that have left my soul in ruins. This is not beautiful. This is not tragic. This is not poetry. I am tired of the glorification and romanticization of self crucifixion. There are thousands that are clothed and fed and warm, and yet they homeless because Where do you turn when even your own flesh and blood does not feel like home? When every piece of your soul shrivels with the rejection of oneself? I want to wrap every inch of my skin in caution tape, a physical reminder that i am never to be seen, and never to be touched. And still to this day I am drowning in an omnipresent culture that has forgotten what it means to be human. The skin upon your face holds within its lines a myriad of stories telling of your laughter, your tears, your surprise, anger, sadness and joy But don't worry. There's a cream for that. The freckles on your face are constellations, your acne is a representation of your wild youth But don't worry, we can edit that out. Or perhaps you prefer foundation, a soft paint erasing the blush of your cheeks, the scar on your forehead, and bags underneath your eyes built from sleepless nights of wondering if you will ever be... Good 

Enough. What is beautiful? What is tragic? What is poetry? The daunting and daring audacity of authenticity. The courage to be human. And in a world that praises only perfection or nothing at all, my only wish for you is that you Make this the chapter of your life where you choose to forgive yourself. The chapter where you choose to become all that you never thought you could be. Because there is so much life waiting for you beyond your fear of loving yourself. you were never made to live inside of the box they built for you. you are composed of stardust and moonlight and flower petals and inexpressible emotions. do not ever shrink yourself down to fit inside the boundaries for who they think you should be. 

And i know it feels impossible to take the body you have despised for so long and to say 

“I accept you.”  But once you do,  I promise you,  for the first time,  you will be home.

Lydia Christensen is currently studying Law and Gender and Sexuality Studies as a Freshman at American University. She is passionate about gender equality, LGBTQ inclusion, and reproductive justice. Through her artwork, Lydia hopes to make others feel heard, represented, and validated.