The first memory of body shame came at the ripe old age of 9 years old. I remember standing in line on picture day, I wore a navy blue shirt with lace trim and lace sleeves. I remember his name, Paul. He told me the sleeves should be right over my “boobies”. I was 9. I wilted.
Not just 3 years later, taking a shortcut to a friends house on my bike I was stopped by 4 male classmates, cornered. They were not going to let me pass until I pulled my shirt up and showed them my chest. I was saved by a little old lady walking her dog. I feared.
My first exposure to porn was at the age of 12. I had no idea what I was witnessing but knew fully that it was not something I should be privy to. That was the first time. The second and subsequent times came, and have they ever stopped coming? Shame.
I was a very slow developer, in fact the doctor was concerned about my late blooming abilities. I would like to think that other adults besides my mother were just as concerned, but instead it was like permission to belittle. One friends mom asked me if I was going to participate in the “Special Olympics” that year. Cracks forming.
But no worries, I developed, rapidly. Leaving many in the dust like a lust for over achievement. I think “torpedo tits” were the words chosen by someone other than me. At the age of 15, a simple walk at a summer festival in a tank top, an adult male tripped and fell staring at my chest. Shrinking.
First boyfriend took to hitting me. Another never stopped calling me chubby and that I should lose weight. Rejected by another in favor of porn and alcohol. Being told my greatest value was what my body could offer. Absent father.
Tell me again that my shirt is cut too low, skirt too short, pants too tight but do not avert your eyes. Tell me again its just for men so they can talk like men, instead of being the men you claim God made you even behind closed doors. Please keep telling me that I am too emotional, too demanding, that I should smile more, Just please tell me what I should be, what I am not, what I am too much of and not enough of . For you. I am not here for you. Anger.
Wilting, cracks filled with shame and fear, shrinking to rubble the temple walls that are my body. Rebuilding each piece with new materials. Cornerstones made of love, kindness, redemption, hope, worth, value, peace, dreams of a an all-present, constant Father. Where my sacred soul resides hearing the choirs of you are more than enough, always have been and always will be. Amen.