My lovely friend Erin Legay is making a zine filled with people’s love letters to their bodies. Here is mine (also, that is totally a picture of my ass):
Holy fuck this is hard. Getting the words out is hard. I can be effusive about my love and adoration for others, but you, you are harder to romance. I mean, you are fucking tough. Hard as nails and not taking shit from anyone (well, that’s what you’ve worked hard to have everyone believe, anyway). You’ve seen lots in these 31 years. From schoolyard bullies to well-meaning clueless strangers to near every.fucking.piece of pop culture, there has never been a dearth of messages about how you should think yourself completely unlovable. You’ve learned to be defensive first, because you never know when someone’s fucked-up fatphobia will smack you in the face.
So, maybe I need to start off by apologizing. I’m so sorry that I spent years hating you. I’m sorry that I internalized all the shit that got thrown at me, and I didn’t believe that there was another way. I’m sorry about the years where I could only get close to another person if we were both drunk, because being sober meant being real, and the possibility of being really rejected was too much. I’m sorry for walling myself off from others, for cutting us off from the outside world, for thinking that somehow that would work out. I’m sorry that I pretended I was fine. I’m sorry for the times when I did the opposite of what I’m doing right now, for the hours I spent writing long missives in my teenage diaries on the terrible fate of inhabiting my body. I just got worn out from going into battle every time I went into the world.
But I slowly unlearned all that hate. My ability to love you has grown little by little, and it’s grown easier as I have been able to figure parts of myself out. After I finally allowed myself to be totally honest about what a huge queer I was. After I hit on someone, and they hit on me back. After I found out that butches existed, I wasn’t the only person who thought they looked best in men’s jeans, hoodies and skate shoes, and there were people who were into that. And I’m still figuring it out, as I allow myself to take up this identity as a trans man. I won’t ever be done figuring it out, fucking it up, or trying harder.
So here I am now, and here is what I think of myself:
My body is seriously fucking hot. I’m solid like a douglas fir tree, and my legs are like tree trunks. I’m warm; you wanna get wrapped up in me. There are places to grab me, and I like being grabbed. I like feeling paws holding onto parts of me that I was told had rendered me unlovable. I love my thick, wide hands, scarred from years of minimum wage shitty jobs, rough in some spots and soft in others. I love feeling my own hands on my body. I hold my belly, play songs on it, run my fingers over the scars on it. I love feeling my belly pressed against someone’s back while we spoon, feeling it press down on them when we fuck. I want people to grab my thighs, my ass, my junk. Every part of me is meaty and substantial. I can wrestle, grapple, tease, hurt if you want me to, gather you up and hold you, throw you over my shoulder. I love how good my body can make me feel. Thinking about getting down with myself gets me wet.
thankyouthankyouthankyou for sticking it out with me. Thank you for holding the hurt, for letting the hurt out, for transforming the hurt into space to hold others’ hurt. I’m gonna stick it out too. I love you so damn much.