This Body, This Thing

September 27th, 2015

This body, this thing. It is not who I am. I have hated it, fought it, loved it, ignored it, accepted it, objectified it, challenged it, pleased it, scolded it, pampered it, scratched it, coddled it, hid it, photographed it. Others have, too.

I am a girl. Society tells me all kinds of shit about this body. Hide it. Flaunt it. Work it. Feed it. Starve it. Clothe it. Disrobe it. Love it. Be ashamed of it. Use it. Offer it. Preserve it. Paint it. Drug it. Heal it. Abuse it. Fuck it.

I am a woman. This body, this thing. It makes me a target. For predators. For misogynists. For politicians. For entitled assholes. For those who think “she’s asking for it”, “she wants it”, “she doesn’t know what she wants.” And I’m told that it is my responsibility to stop them. Not their responsibility to stop themselves. I have to yell No loud enough. I have to fight them hard enough. Or else it is my fault.

I’ve never been raped, but I’ve been taken advantage of. This body, this thing has been used by those who didn’t ask first. Who I had not said yes to. Once, too young to understand. Later, I brushed it off – it’s not me, it’s just this body, this thing. Then I learned better.

So, I am a lot more guarded now. I am better aware of myself, my body, my sexuality. I stay away from those situations where I’m not in control. I speak up for myself, now. I am more careful about feeling obligated to touch or hug people. But mostly, I build walls, so they won’t think those things – “she wants it”, “she’s asking for it.” That makes it harder, though, when I do. Especially because I never want to be on the other side of the equation – assuming the other person wants it without them having explicitly said so.

This body, this thing – it matters. It is part of me. I do not have to use it to please others. It is my choice what I do with it. I am woman, I am human, I am afraid. But I will not let that fear control me. I will not let society make choices for me. This is My Body, My Thing, and I will do with it what pleases me.

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