I Pull Out A Red Sequin Dress From The Back Of My Closet And Weep

I Pull Out A Red Sequin Dress From The Back Of My Closet And Weep

Maybe one day I’ll look at my body in the mirror and not see a cutting board. I’ll wake up in a world where I’m not a voyeur to my own blood. I won’t fall asleep with an old rusty little sharp thing next to me in my nightstand.

It’s just a reminder. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

The itch never really goes away. It’s a hunger. Like Princess Aurora, it is dormant. But today, there’s rain in my bedroom and each drop falls on me like a thousand little kisses from a prince’s lips.

Today, It’s alive like Lazarus.

It growls when I want to remember I exist. It forms a hollow in my stomach when I want to forget I’m here.

Time heals all wounds, they say, but the left side of my pelvis flashes white against an olive sky with the lot of them.

I stand before the reflection in my vanity and want to set fire to the landscape between the miles of skin that have spread from hip to hip. I hate myself for the way I cringe. The way I look at my large breasts and feel trapped. How I look at the way they sit on my chest and imagine that like me, they droop from shame. How I sometimes dream of excavating the muscle and fat from them. I turn around and look back at the cellulite behind my thighs. I spend long, tiresome minutes rubbing almond oil and using a natural-bristle brush to massage the flecks I find when I squeeze. I move on to the tiny stretch marks that threaten to show. I grasp the folds of my skin until it hurts, my mind drifting to a taut little stomach, tiny little arms, a back less soft.

I preach self-love, but some days I am rabid with self-loathing. For the dark thing I carry on the inside. For the flesh I wear on the outside.

I believe each body is beautiful, just not this one.

I could look into the eyes of every woman I come across, tell her she’s beautiful and wholeheartedly mean it, but there’s days I do not believe it of the woman in the mirror staring back at me.

I am a feminist. I believe in body positivity.

I am looking in the mirror at a hypocrite.

I pull out a red sequin dress from the back of my closet and weep.

I mourn the body who fit into it four years ago.

I mourn the body in the pictures inside the frames on my dresser from seven years ago. From nine. From ten. From twelve. From thirteen.

I want to throw myself with this one into the pyre.

I want to burn every place he ever touched. I want to fill with smoke every cavity left by each thief who stole. I want to erase the fingerprints of every man who couldn’t see me. I want to eradicate from existence every hand I should have never let on me.

I want to hurt for the all literal and metaphorical ways I ever put cold metal to skin.

As I stare at my reflection, I hear my mother’s voice telling me to be mindful of the weight. I hear him telling me I can lose it if I really work for it.

I want to break a lifetime’s habit of making myself smaller, reaching out with hands cupped, hoping for love.

Hoping to be enough.

I want to repent before this mirror for punishing this body and calling it comfort.

I dream of not shying away when a man calls me beautiful. I dream of believing in the sincerity painted across a pair of eyes when they praise me. The way I’ll let myself unfurl like a lily beneath their gaze.

I’ve never bloomed like that before. I’ve only ever been petals crushed between fingers of hands who could only love me when there was a lot less of me to touch.

I dream of hearing someone say they love me and my first thought not being “why?”

I dream of running my hands splayed over every inch of my curves and loving myself for what I do and don’t have, and for exactly who I am.

I pull out a red sequin dress from the back of my closet and weep.

I weep because I’ve been so unkind to this body and the girl who lives inside it.

I weep for letting every lie ever told to me cloud my vision.

I weep for the daughter I haven’t had. I weep imagining she, too, will grow to feel like this.

I push the tears from my face with the back of my hands. I stand straight.

I’m looking in the mirror. I’m reaching deep within myself and it is painful. I want to find my beauty. I want to believe in it.

I want to be able to teach someone else to see theirs when they look in the mirror.

I am trying. But today I look and I can only feel hunger.

I will look again tomorrow. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Houston-based writer and artist.

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