My Body Is Not a Battleground (Declaring Peace)

As a child, I never knew so much could be wrong with me
I don’t like the way my eyebrows curve
my fingers make me want to never touch again
my protruding belly inching over a 24 waist jeans
causes my brain to rupture and call its own body ugly

Now I have memorised from tip to toe
all that is ugly, unholy

I can list it out
Sing it like a song of
A b c d
A for arms that are too hairy to enhance my body
too flabby to not look dangly or too thin to look healthy
B for bones for I have grown to despise not just what covers me
but also, all that is within me
I stand in the mirror shit talking to my collarbones
or shoulder blades for they are too broad to be ‘girly’
Don’t worry I don’t hate all of me
I won’t after I fix it
C for, well there are too many
C for colour, the colour of my skin
I detest the colour that enwraps me maybe just a couple of shades lighter
would work best for the men and the rest of society
C for cheeks that are home to more acne scars than
rosy blush gulmohar
scars that leave marks not just on my body
but on my mind making me loathe every inch of me
C for clitoris for God forbid someone ever sees
the hyperpigmentation on its side
the thick, filthy hair protecting its withering petals
the dark sacred room, one I deem nasty and unworthy
D for discolouration
Under my eyes for they hold all the tears I cried
Why did God give me this body?
Why am I trapped inside of me?
Discolouration in my underarms from shaving too aggressively
Because hair is filthy?

I could keep going on
E for earlobes
F for fingers
G for genitals
H for hairline
I for iris
J for jawline
But I don’t want to bore you with my complicity
You see I forget to remember that looks aren’t all there is to me

Don’t worry I don’t hate all of me
or at least I won’t
after I fix it
with glow and lovely
or 10 ways to suck in your belly
Maybe learning poses to look less ‘manly’?
Exercise to earn myself a booty
Maybe look into a boob job, flat isn’t sexy?
I think I should uplift my eyebrows
Wax regularly or sit pretty
All to merely make myself love me
So most mornings I wake up and conceal
My acne my blemishes my scars
Anything that talks about my insecurities
I have started reading vogue’s guide to beauty
over poetry
I have stalked every beauty guru, every Instagram model
but every cream every product every beauty regimen I try leaves me with
another war to fight
Another body part to despise

I’m sorry, you see the thing is
there is just too much wrong with me
Or is there?
Last night I had a revelation
What if I whisper compliments to my acne
Caress my clitoris for the men don’t approve of my colour anyway
Lift my drooping ‘manly’ shoulders
And straighten my spine
Hold my skinny arms and look in the mirror
To not whisper
But scream
And howl
And roar
Love sonnets to all of me.

For I have let the world capitalise on my insecurities
Sell me my distaste for my own body
Convinced me that what the universe gave me wasn’t enough
That being the colour of the earth wasn’t a blessing
That this body wasn’t a gift but a sin
So let me hold myself and look in the mirror
Call myself beautiful and worthy
For a couple dozen million industries
Hundreds of brands like glow and lovely
Would shatter and quiver merely witnessing me
Identifying my beauty
Appreciating my body
Accepting all there is to me
For society would lose another one of its slaves
To liberty
For my body has been at war with itself for far too long
Its time to declare

Sana Agarwal is an 18-year-old poet and writer based in London, UK currently studying history who turns to words to fathom and navigate through the world and people around her.

Featured image: Alexander Krivitskiy / Unsplash