How I Learned To Love Myself In Spite Of Sharp Tongued Girls And Ignorant Boys

Photography by  Laura Makabresku

Photography by Laura Makabresku

I learned

how to love myself

through boys

never seeing me

and through girls telling me

“you would be more pretty,

if your hair

wasn’t colored like the sun”

and it’s a process

of becoming dim, to darker,

bright, to brighter,

until you can learn what it takes to glow.

I had to grow

through pool parties

where I would hide my stomach

wishing I could hide away from their eyes

and behind bathtubs where I would sit naked

when I was in the 3rd grade

and prayed for all of my skin

to go away.

I learned to love myself

through my

friends telling me

they didn’t want me to go

to homecoming

and that they were embarrassed

to be seen with me

and through trying so hard

to starve myself

just for a few days

just so maybe my skin would lie

a little flatter

and I could continue to lie to myself

and believe

that’s what really matters.

I learned to love myself

through boys on the baseball team

asking my boyfriend why he was with me –

she’s ugly.

I was the flower that was never picked,

so I learned how to continue to grow.

I learned that my worth

is not in their words but

underneath this skin

and if I could,

I would rip it open wide

so you could see everything concealed inside

because it’s what is inside,

that connects,

and our outsides

that divide.

I learned to think my freckles are beautiful,

because they are

and marks and scars of their words

means I can never do enough,

I can never write enough

to tell you

you are beautiful

and please don’t act so ugly

to each other.

and to not wear your physical appearance as a disguise

because these vessels hide

the universes and splatters of paint inside,

you can learn ways

to love you,