On Learning How to Take Up Space Without Apology | Teen Ink

On Learning How to Take Up Space Without Apology

August 31, 2015
By ClaireM. ELITE, Albany, New York
ClaireM. ELITE, Albany, New York
109 articles 14 photos 33 comments


You cannot give back what you stole from yourself. You can’t feed your body the things you denied it while it was quivering beneath the whip of your merciless, perfectionist dysmorphia, or erase the scars you’ve carved into it, or stroke it tenderly all those times you wished you could jump out of your flesh and become somebody else—a goddess-girl, a radiant impossibility, angelic fire with taut skin over crystal cheekbones and a torso so trim it could snap in a storm.

But you can start again. You can make vows to yourself that you will spend the rest of your life fulfilling, because to hell with comparison. To hell with the wars waged on magazine racks. To hell with GET SKINNY IN 3 WEEKS and HOW TO TIGHTEN YOUR ABS and 10 TIPS THAT WILL MAKE HIM WANT YOU. To hell with the mythology of thin—this vile word, this grotesque title, this dismissal of your vibrant heart and humming brain, this slaughtering of your entirety. To hell with the numbers that made you ill. To hell with calories/ scales/ grams/ portions, the formulas that stabbed you and wrecked you and violated you in ways so wicked you still cannot breathe them aloud. To hell with it all.

All this time you have been confused by yourself, thinking it ugly, despicable, criminal. All your life you have suppressed the sunburst inside you. Now, it’s time to release the latch. Time to push the lid open. Time to make whatever noise you were never bold enough to make, because none of it matters, you know? Size and measurement and all that soul-splitting bullshit. You are not bone or blood or cell; you are dizzy blue light and skipped heartbeats, the intersection of potassium and sodium, that chemical eruption of color, that running down unnamed streets amid stars and heavy breathing, that feeling of pushing through bodies of strangers to where there is the sweet negative space in the eye of it all, waiting for you to pull your hair off your face and dance like you are waterfall upon waterfall come to life.

You are not an equation. You are not pounds and inches. You are breath and sight and noise and movement and growth, and you cannot squander another pounding of your sweet, open-palm heart loathing your body for the misdeed of not being something else. The extra flesh protecting your vital organs is irrelevant when all the world is an electrical impulse roaring its beauty for you. The precise width of your hips is immaterial here in this place where sleepless people are kissing and comets are screaming through the atmosphere like fallen gods and tomorrow is unfurling in great, glittering swaths of potential.

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