there’s a moment when the chain breaks, 
the key unlocks
the pinata splits
and the boa constrictor
slithers home to his guilt.

when the mind finally begins to molt
that is when
life begins

when i realized there was no restriction on my nipple size to call them worthy of touching
when my stomach rolls meant i was a mountain range
when my breakouts weren’t markings of imperfection
when calories were about as useful
as the trigonometry class i never took
and when i realized that grammar freaks
probably hate themselves,
my life began.

to me
eating bread is not the same as killing someone
to me
having a six pack is not the same as curing cancer
and to me
doing a split is not the same
as knowing what my soul
aches for

but that wasn’t always true.

no one gets to tell you when the cage unlocks, or if it ever will. 
but to me, 
it’s the only thing that has ever mattered.

for the last two years of high school, i was called every nasty name
in the book. 
slut, and whore, and unforgivable
and no one ever thought to ask me
if i had given him permission
to put me in that cage. 
it took me seven years to unlock it.

and oh, how my life began.

to the six pack, and the splits, and the non-bread eaters, and the sluts and the whores and the survivors, the mis-spellers, nipple measurers, calorie counters, and the acne prone -

you’ll stay in there as long as you need to,
but i pray it’s not forever.

sometimes we are the snake
but there is always time
to shed our skin.