I'm starting here. Yes. Right here. I want you to say it with me under the dim of my bathroom light: I. Am. Beautiful.
I take solace in the light on my face. I take solace in the light on my skin, on the fat that creases and bulges. I love my body. Sometimes more than other times. Sometimes less. I've doubted my temple in the past. I've fed it horrible things like stress and butter and beer. I've hated it and squeezed my stomach in front of the mirror. I've made faces at my overweight self. Not today.
I remember where I started: I am beautiful. I put the magazine down. I stop reading the lines about how to fit in my jeans better (or for that matter, how to fit in). I tell the page it doesn't know me like I know me. I tell myself I'm not a model. I tell myself the models are not even models. They are made of wood, held together by string.
I stand in front of the mirror. My skin is a white sheet of paper. My eyes are two buckets of brown dirt. I don't cry anymore over my curves. I feed it apples, pears and squash. I feed it squats and walks. I wash the sweat off from my workout in a warm, lavender-scented shower. The shower is a lake from a dream I had.
I don't body shame myself. I don't let others body shame me either. I'm responsible for how I see myself in this world, in this long and wide world of hurtful words and scams of the heart.
Go now. This is not a body of hate. This body does not hate itself. There is nothing here to consume but love. Self-sabotage is a hand that does not hurt me anymore. My body sings me to sleep. My body is ground, gravel, twigs and brambles.
My feet dangle from the bed now. I examine the cracked skin, the dried patches on the tops of my toes. I see my legs, freckled and chubby, against the cat's back. I rub my arms, the stretched skin too. I pull my messy hair back in a bun and sigh deep and slow. The room is quiet now. The bathroom mirror is quiet. There is no sound; only my heart, gentle and warm, and it says thank you for loving me again. And my fingers rest on my chest; they can hear the sound my heart makes.
I push myself off the bed and look in the long, wooden framed mirror. All those spots. All those scars and scabs. All those dimples in the thigh. It's all a poem to me.