if you look at my body and it scares you,
good. my body was made to scare you. my stretch marks are yellow caution tape cautioning you if you cant handle the truth splayed out emotions worn on a sleeve honesty of flaws and imperfection and a ripe attitude at the wrong times,
don’t cross. don’t come in a body that you can’t come back to,
don’t deal with a body that has firmer flesh than your promises If the extra weight i carry on my thighs and stomach are too much weight for you to handle you should either leave me alone or live at the gym until you can handle the extra weight that comes with being human I have never promised a lightness in being with me, i never say that I’m not jealous, you can tell by the ways my thighs cling to one another that i cling to those who i love and I can’t let go, I can’t let go as easy as my scalp sheds hair but i can let go things like hatred and i dwell on despair for days i get disappointed easily i hate being let down so if you are not strong enough to carry me for days then don’t pick me up, because most promises made with the sinews in muscles don’t hold up. I know this.
If the cellulite on my ass makes you uneasy, I guess you hated jello as a child, and have never been one to go swimming because the waves look pretty frightening, as if they want to consume you, but grasp them. touch them.
they’re inviting. i’m inviting . we’re astonishing in the way we wrap everything around you and make you feel like home, but not a home you’ve come from but something cooler lighter softer. is there something frightening about a body that can make a mold of your touch? something that could drown you if it wanted? i could drown you, if you wanted.
If the hair on my body is an uncomfortable topic for you, then you must never have taken your shoes off and run through warm grass in the summer time, sun-soft blades on skin must feel like needles and you must hate the idea of secrets and caves and things that are more beautiful sometimes hidden, sometimes protected, always earthy, always growing, if you prefer i cut off what is growing about me then you must not want me to grow, without you
we are not stunted creatures. i cannot tell my body it is a crutch. i wear my stubble like it’s jewelry bristling like black gold sometimes i find two hairs coming out of one pore like not even my body knows how to make up its mind so we always choose both, and when i get pimples in odd places and you discover my skins not flat find incredible in the magic inside me, that bubbles over and swells out, because it just needs to be seen
i want you to look inside my body spread my legs use me like a looking glass see me, see me like a lantern in a dim room use me to light up your pathway because my body, shouldn’t scare you, my body should show you should teach you about novels, and words, and things we cant say out loud because they don’t sound right about tight and thick, and delicate and bony and ribs and musk and the smell of tree bark the touch of sunset the feeling of bed time and having someone
and not having someone and being alone and being unhappy with being alone but not having a choice in being alone so figuring it out, in ice cream and growing sunflowers and picking up the harmonica because it’s not all bad, a body laying, and lying and being completely vulnerable on cement spaces and phases of happier than i’ve ever tasted and a current sadness my body doesn’t know how to bear. Not yet.
But if the look of my body still scares you,
Pegah Maleki is an Iranian-American writer at the University of Maryland, writing to educate others, create community, and heal.