i’m wondering if we are plastering a billboard of success over a wall that needs rebuilding. 

I am happy to tell you your body is worthy, and to deconstruct all the ways it was told it wasn’t. I am happy tell you that it is okay to eat cookies.

but it isn’t what i’d rather tell you. 

I’d rather tell you that the persisting pain in your shoulder might be the way your mother screamed at you. That you are swallowing your expansiveness every time you suck in your stomach. that chakras are not a trend or a meme or a throw away joke they are a thousand years of study that know your heart is blocked because the root of you has always lived in fear. that your body has convinced itself that you’re a prey animal.

I want to tell you it took little convincing, because our bodies aren’t ours, because we were preyed upon from the beginning, our bodies were never ours, we didn’t have a chance to pray for anything before we were told to pray for a thin waist, to pray to waste away, so i’m here praying we have something more than hashtags to fight our predators.

these are the things i’d rather tell you. but that’s chapter book stuff, and we’re still on our abcs. we’re still talking about cookies. 

do you know what it actually means to have both feet on the ground? to be in your body? have you ever touched your stomach and owned it as a part of you? owned the things that live inside you, underneath the concrete necessity of skin you are always taking mental hammers to, do you know that under there is a mosaic of your carefully assembled pieces? no replicas. no poster prints. the blood and guts of you like stained glass, like sea glass, like glassy eyes struck by beauty so profound the ocean had to lend a hand to see it properly.

the things we write poetry out of are not how many reps you did at the gym today. why is it that the only time we hug ourselves is when we cry?

my throat clutches every time a teenage girl hands out evaluation cards for her body. no no no no, I want to say. take it back take it back take it back. I promise what another person thinks of your body is one momentary thought they’ll carelessly hand to you and go on thinking about their own hurt, their own misery, their hopes their grievances and what snack they want to eat later.

and yet that one thought, that minutia in a lifetime of infinite thinkings, will claw pieces of the mosaic from the walls meant to keep her  safe.

we pick the scab. we look for blood. we rip the stuffing from our soft casing. we ignore what is there to protect us. what was always good enough. better than good. miraculous. all because of one uncreative, unwarranted, unjust millisecond of brainspace wasted taking the time to score a body on a one to ten scale. 

why aren’t we screaming? why aren’t we punching pillows? why aren’t we scrambling to glue the mosaic back together? would we turn our backs on the water lilies overturned, mona lisa’s smile scissored straight through, starry night painted black? why isn’t our first thought to cradle the pieces in our hands, to gingerly glue them back together, to bandaid, to search for the sewing kit?

there are little girls who will never be baptized by the ocean, minerals marooning their hair and sea salt teeth-dripping as their mouths hang open and half grinning, sucking ocean air into hungry lungs. they will be worried about wet bathing suits clinging to unclenched bellies instead. they might never go in. 

we aren’t breathing. we aren’t living. we are wasting so much time. 

please touch yourselves. learn your bodies, the whole of them, not just your ass and your thighs and your hip creases and your nipples. and learn why they are. why they scream and suffer, and why they rejoice too. hold them. honor them. in a way far more profound than a selfie or a graphic tee. 

those are not bad. promise. but they should be a side effect of good. the good must come from you. 

please spend time in your own museum before you invite me in. when you do, I hope there’ll be cookies.