Recently my body has been aching.
My body has been aching from my unrelenting disapproval of its non-compliance.
Recently my body has had enough of me and has dug its heels into the ground.
Like a child that I had been forcefully dragging behind me with a strong hold on its arm, my body has stopped dead while screaming, wrestled itself out of my grip, crossed its arms over its chest and with tears running down its cheeks and told me that it is not moving. It is not taking one more step.
My body is making a scene.
Recently my body has been showing me what will happen when it gets sick of me and my unceasing tyrannical perfectionist expectations of it.
Recently my knees have started to ache from learning how to turn my thighs inward to create an illusion of having a gap where there is none. This was an attempt to break up the almighty shame that are these thunder thighs, hoping the sight will be less detestable if it is two smaller abominations rather than one big one.
Recently my ankles have started to ache from learning how to turn my feet inward in order to appear small, non-threatening and unimportant. This has caused my feet to over pronate and my ankles to sickle inward.
My body aches from my lifelong attempts to make myself appear too small of a threat and too sweet of a target to make any externally launched attacks worth their effort.
Recently my back has started to ache from learning how to permanently tilt my tailbone down and forward to hollow out my stomach, making it appear flat, as if to say “See? I take nothing. I need nothing. I will not ask anything of you. I will not need.”
Recently my neck has been in pain from learning how to lift my shoulders and round them forward, not only to shelter my too large, too soft, round breasts inside my sunken chest from greedy and entitled stares, but also to replace them with protruding collar bones in an attempt to draw only kind and empathetic eyes.
Recently my scalp has started to ache from a decade of straightening my hair in my attempts to asphyxiate my thick Mediterranean curls and the unapologetic way with which they rage and roar. Instead, I force and flatten them into soft lofty controllable strands that are airy and light enough to be caressed by a gentle breeze.
My hips and shoulders ache from overworking this heavy and unlovable load in never ending monotonous movements on trails and treadmills, up stair climbers and mountains, in gyms and yoga studios, fighting and beating into shape its natural propensity to be unacceptable.
My breasts ache from doubling up on sports bras when I teach yoga for fear of becoming the big bosomed bendy joke.
My body is tired of the way I shamefully and hastily cross my arms over my chest in the refrigerated section of the grocery store because I was once again the last to find out that my protruding nipples got out and have been hooking sights for a while now.
Recently my body is refusing to be in pain in order to keep everyone comfortable, because it may look like it’s trying to steal a boyfriend or a husband. How dare she have breasts like that and be friendly too!?
My body is tired of being locked down, strapped in and harnessed into compliance.
My body is tired of contorting itself for approval.
My body is tired of contorting itself into invisibility so that it may not draw what it is entitled to.
My body is tired of contorting itself to minimize the risk of threats that come with not walking alongside a man.
From a lifelong attempt to push bone through fat into visibility, to appear more acceptable and less powerful than I know I am, my body is so unbelievably tired.
Recently my body has silenced the parts of me that shield the world from my soft offensiveness.
In fact, recently, my body has been telling me to fuck off.
My body is also pissed.
It’s pissed because it wants itself back.
It’s pissed not only because of all the demands I have put on it, but also because of all that I have denied it.
It’s sick of being permitted only the endorphin releases that postdate rigorous workouts, heavy lifts, strict yoga practices and the long distance runs of an athlete.
It demands the pleasure that is in the soft movement of a woman and it is being unapologetic about it.
It wants to move.
It wants to sway and swoon and undulate. It wants to walk, and bend, stop and dance. It demands I allow it the pleasure of softly rolling my hips like a waterfall.
It’s telling me to hold and stretch and lift my chest, to swirl, to kick, to squat and reach.
Recently my body has stopped giving a shit.
Not only about what I think but also about what you think.
It is letting me know that it intends to dance and move like a woman regardless of whether these cages, fences and obstacles are self-made or imposed.
It doesn’t care anymore about rules, whether they are mine or society’s and is trembling inside the strait jacket of norms.
It refuses now to take responsibility for any reactions of others.
It wants its power back.
It wants its fucking power back.
This body can mesmerize, hypnotize and move in a way that can stop traffic like the thorn in the side of the synthetic addictive hierarchy that constrains it.
These hips can stop traffic.
And it is pissed that the only space for it to move in the ways for which it was designed is attached to a stripper pole.
This body embodies a resistance.
This body embodies a revolution.
It has stopped giving a shit about the stares, the whistles, the honks, the licking of lips, the bikes that ride too close.
It doesn’t care anymore when it’s making people uncomfortable for embracing the pleasure of its natural movement while on a walk in a public space.
It dances now like no one is watching, as it was told to do, though indeed they do watch.
It doesn’t care if it is scandalous anymore.
This was the body of a dancer and it still is.
It never wanted to offend but it is done self-censoring.
It appears, my body doesn’t give a shit anymore.
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Assistant Editor: Karissa Kneeland/Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Jade Beall Photography