Words pour from lips of silk and collide with my bones only to die. Tongues twist, toss and turn from sweet and sour to bitter, due to the constant, yet filthy swallowing of my pride. Ears fill with a week’s worth of gossip and form deafening liquid to hear what was never there. I can feel rushes of blood fill my skin with every pump my cold and broken heart beats.
I was born in this skin. This skin that has been nurtured, caressed, neglected and scarred. I know the back of my hands all too well. I know my shaking knees can’t smile, and although I am warm, my sweat will continually feel cold. I know the scent of my body; every follicle of hair on my body, which grows ever so soft, yet wild. The barbaric jungle in which my thoughts more often than not reside. Yet upon being gifted this flesh and body, I was also handed restrictions that came with it.
For starters, you are not allowed to love this. I am so sorry.
No, not for the gashes inscribed on my legs from climbing up and falling off of trees, and wading into bushes till I was 10. Nor the roadside gravel shaped scars that adorned my palms after multiple falls on the road from the excitement of meeting my parents. Not even the scar on my left elbow from being left unsupervised while bathing for a moment at the age of three.
I don’t have an ounce of sympathy or regret regarding the unfortunate results of relatively callous actions, which make for light, playful worth-it memories.
However, what I do need to apologise for is the other things. I’m sorry for despising you. I can’t apologise enough for stripping my hair to the core, burning my hair until my wavy locks turn to crisp nothingness. I’m sorry for using my fingers to count calories rather than counting the things I love about myself. I’m sorry for starving myself in the effort to feel my ribs touch my arms. The revolting glances and grabs at the spot where my stomach bulges out.
I learned that I was supposed to hate my thighs, the rolls of my stomach when I sit. I’m supposed to hate that my voice is deep and crackly like a broken record. How my nose isn’t tiny and dainty like my mother’s, but large, bumpy and strong like my father’s. That my knees are covered in scars.
Yet one day, I whispered to my body gently, “I want to be your friend.”
I took a deep breath and filled my lungs with hope and faith for the first time in forever. Since that day, my life has never been the same. I can’t begin to apologise for falling into society’s vicious cycle of self-hate, and the never-ending patterns I threw at you. Patterns that aren’t like those of an alcoholic commencing with early-afternoon drinks, and developing into denial and ending with wild yet saddening stories. But there is no insecure and self-loathers anonymous.
No cookies to collect for every time I compliment myself, saying I’m beautiful, or better yet, valued for more than my appearance. So body, when I saw that this is an apology note, I don’t mean I’m sorry for picking a warm burger over cold and limp lettuce, or even the countless nights I’ve snuck an extra square of chocolate from the fridge.
No, I have no remorse or regret for that. What I’m sorry for is hating you. I am so very sorry, and I swear I’m trying to stop.
Ananya Malhotra is a 16-year-old student studying in Vasant Valley School.
Featured image credit: Ramez E. Nassif/Unsplash