Do you see me?
Not just in the strategically revealed snapshots of me;
tailored to showcase only what is deemed approvable,
Not just in the hint of ample cleavage- oh I admit, there’s no hinting with ample!,
but in the distraction that affords from other bits of me that I’m told are not my “strong point”.
Work your assets they say!
If they were mine why do they leave the rest of me feeling so impoverished?
Like a false ceiling; hiding the flaws in a leaky roof,
A fresh paint job; distracting the buyers’ attention from structural defects.
Do you see me? I ask again.
As a whole person.
Not just a pretty face.
Not just “sexy cleavage”.
Not someone who dresses well for her size,
But me – the pretty face with a double chin, attached to a big body,
Sexy cleavage, pendulous breasts,
Jiggly arms, thunder thighs, rotund belly, flabby back, dimpled cheeks; aye- the posterior kind,
Dressing up my bits, my whole – not because of my size- not despite it,
I’d like to tell you that I work my style WITH my body.
But sometimes, that isn't true.
Sometimes I hide – and then I ask, “Do you see me?”
I’m met with silence.
I’m hiding in plain sight.
I’m hiding in the silhouette of the person I’m told I will one day shrink to.
Hiding, leaving the rest of me unoccupied.
I’m a co-conspirator – helping with my passive acquiescence
To plans that you may not even have "consciously" conspired,
bound as we are by ties of kinship and camaraderie...
Yet, we conspired – against the unoccupied bits of me, hoping to banish them forever.
We conspired when we spoke of your person as one with your body,
and mine as if I’m feeding a snake ready to strike,
As if I’m letting a free loader mooch off me to perpetuity –
someone to evict, something to slice away, starve and allow to wither.
We conspired when we didn't talk about my body at all – as we did yours;
as something to nurture, display affection to, something desirable, something strong and marvelous!
We conspired when we did speak of it;
amidst a shroud of shadows,
within the confines of unspeakables and unaskables,
with conditioned concern,
tamped down pity,
secret relief, and internalised blame,
with unending-relentless optimistic good cheer.
And so I lived with you – around you –
half hiding, half wasting away...half forgotten.
Yet again, I ask; do you see me?
I have been reclaiming the unoccupied bits of my body,
I have been widening the spotlight till it covers the whole of me,
I am telling you about that part of me; defending its honour – free loader? Not!
I am engaging with my self – my whole self.
Acknowledging me – the whole of me.
Honouring my body – the whole of it.
And guess what I found? Honour and shame don’t go together,
Acknowledgement lacks colour when partly restrained,
Love – oh glorious love, doesn't come couched in abuse and spite,
That my friends, was a pretty tale told to us women in stories of bad boys and tough love.
The spotlight is shining; the shadows receding,
The silhouette is expanding to occupy my empty bits,
The jagged snapshots are coming together in smooth cohesion,
My sparkling wit, within my head of curls, upon that pretty face over the double chin,
Resting on a neck supported by strong shoulders and a clavicle that I assure you I have even though you can’t see it,
I broke it once you see; it’s definitely there.
My dexterous hands that bring me such joy in the food I cook and the strings I strum, and a million other things that I never noticed,
Attached to jiggly arms, showcasing my glorious cushiony breasts, hanging upon my luxurious belly within which joy bubbles up and explodes in laughter,
Laughing as I spin on unvarnished toes, drawing an elegant line to my ankles and smooth calves,
Joining my thunder thighs in dimpled knees, dimpled just as my tiny ass is; ah no matter – it’s big enough to cushion my bones when I sit.
My lady bits are cushiony too. Just saying.
Yes, I still call myself a Lady. Go figure!
So now, do you see me?
Well, I’m not hiding anymore so that’s one obstacle removed.
For all that I have lost,
For all that was never mine,
I raise my glass in silent toast,
To my bleeding heart; doing just fine.
As I look upon this grave,
This monument of dust; an ode to love’s lost splendour,
I stand not a martyr, nor a vanquished king past his prime,
but a fallen warrior with steel in his spine.
Though my head be bowed, my back is ramrod straight,
Though my heart be broken, not broken is my faith,
And yet upon my face a fleeting smile flits,
What bloody carnage ‘twas, a battle loved to bits!
A warrior can’t be but proud,
though bleeding on battleground he lies,
For a battle well fought, dripping sweat on haloed grounds,
A battle fought with honour, can bring down the mighty skies.
So yes, the warrior is proud,
Proud he fought; that he laboured for love, not hate,
Proud he stands at the very love’s grave,
Stoic, in the face of fate.
For with a warrior’s wisdom, he knows when a battle is lost,
And with a warrior’s courage, he readies himself; for there’s a war to be won.
With a warrior’s strength, he turns away from the grave,
And with a warrior’s conviction, he shatters the glass and tightens his grip on his blade.
With a warriors spirit, as I walk into the dawn,
I hear with alarming clarity, the blowing battle horn,
And drifting on the wind comes back to me, a piece of battle lore,
That he who in grave injury, does not to death fall prey,
Him with a mighty heart, returns to fight another day.
I am a philosophy graduate who writes, photographs, cooks, travels and runs an organisation dealing with sexuality and gender; all in an effort to experience, express and contribute.