the cadence of self-love

The expectation that my body is supposed to be feminine is a daily conundrum that bounces back and forth in the sinews and synapses that coincide to make up this physical body of mine — that thin, straight, small-bodied femininity is that which will make me good (enough) and right in the world. That I am supposed to be that.

My body is decidedly not those things.

My eyebrows raise and my head tilts in confusion as this story continues to play out inside me, bouncing off of nerve cells running up and down my spine. I know better. I should know better.

Nevertheless, there is a rebel faction of cells in my body who refuses to give up the archaic language of repression, misogyny and self-hate it was force-fed as a child for so many many years.

This is my form of suffering. One of them, anyways. A suffering borne out of a lack of consent, an imposition of ideas that were carved into my skin before i could even read.

No one taught me how to digest the trauma of those who raised me, both directly and indirectly. Their fears and their stories became mine, dying turtles swimming just beneath the surface, refusing to come up for air.

My body never had the permission to find its own cadence. I was never given the freedom to fall in love with the shapes I made in the world. I was never taught how to let those turtles die in peace.

My journey to love this body of mine follows a flower-strewn path that offers up buried land-mines and poisonous toad stools for me to meander between. It is both treacherous and delightful, devastating and free.

I do not know another way to walk. To move forward is to move through. Embracing self-love now in a body that is shape shifting with the turning of time is the only way I can find breath at the intersection of true and false and make-believe.

May this path never end.