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All Entries must be in by midnight on July 17th, 2023  11:59 Eastern Time

Those moving on to round two will be announced by September 15th

Voting will start  September 15th and end October 18th, 11:59 pm  Eastern Time. Winners will be announced October 20th.

Make sure you read the CONTEST RULES before you enter

Congratulations to our winners!

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  • Even if it takes my whole life, I will love myself in the end.

    It was 2010 and Shakira was singing “La Torutura” at the Grammys or the VMA’S. I was 12 years old. Sobbing because I knew I would never look like her. No one would ever want me the way they wanted Shakira. No one would ever be blown away by my still non-existent hips. I was doomed to a life of ugly mediocracy and I knew it.
    2007 I was told I had gained too much weight that summer by the one boy I had been harboring a crush on for years. He was blonde and blue eyed in a sea of brown people. I thought he looked like an angel. He let me know he thought I looked like a whale.
    2006 the boys would bully me and ask why would I even wear a training bra. It was all bra and no boobs.
    2005 someone made fun of my hairy arms. Made some joke about using the hair on my arms to climb up a mountain. Maybe like Velcro? I don’t remember anymore.
    2003 In the cafeteria sitting with all my classmates as they made jokes about some girl who happened to have my name who was so ugly and so annoying. I remember one girl looking at me and loudly whispering about this repugnant girl, smiling at me, laughing when she told me it was for sure not about me. Everyone else at the table laughed right after.
    I remember walking home with my mom from school crying. I remember her asking me why I didn’t want to go back. Because I was ugly. And everyone knew it. How could I go back?
    2023 and I am on the eve of my thirtieth birthday. I no longer weigh myself. I was shopping for a wedding dress and I realized taking pictures in the dresses I liked the most was a horrible idea. I began to pick at every little thing. Convinced myself I look like a linebacker. I tell myself I am beautiful on these days. I tell myself to be softer and kinder. But the voice in my head lingers. It sounds just like those kids in high school and middle school and elementary school. It has gotten significantly quieter as the years pass. And for that I am grateful. Maybe there is a silver lining. I marvel at my body. Taking so many years of abuse from the very person who carries it every day. Only God and every other woman understands how brutal we can be to ourselves. I have torn myself apart a million times. And maybe it will take the rest of my life to make up for the lies I let myself believe but I know with certainty that if it takes my whole life at least my whole life will become a journey of self-love and acceptance.
    But oh dear body, I promise you that I love you. You are resilient. You are strong. Your skin is soft and caramel brown at the right time of the year. Your hair is so black it shines blue. Your eyes twinkle and not just when you’re about to cry. Your face is round like the moon. Your lips full, and with so many beautiful things to say. And when you’re old and gray and your skin is translucent with age I will love you even more. For you carried me through life. And for that I will always be grateful.

    Cinthya Pizarro

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    • Cinthya- I am so very sorry for the cruelness you were exposed to during your younger years. Usually, I believe, bullying like that is simply a reflection of someone’s discomfort with themselves – they express it by throwing it onto you. Do your best to let it go, it never had much to do with you anyway. It was about their own pain. Congrats on…read more

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    • Dear Cinthya,
      Your words ring true. When we come to a point in life where we feel comfortable in our own skin it is a wonderful moment. I wish you good luck in your continued self-acceptance journey.

      Shelley

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  • Oh you pretty little thing

    Used and abused, but I still love you.
    Tattered and torn, but still going strong.
    Beaten and whipped, but still a little human.
    Im sorry didn’t pay attention to you and your will to keep on. sorry I didn’t take better care of you
    Now age sets in , paper mache skin wrapped around brittle bones, like a flag to a pole with out the glory.
    No more curves no more flow
    Sinking into the earth where I belong
    Where I was made, where I feel safe

    Danielle Bettro

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    • Danielle this is well written. While I am glad you feel safe, you should still feel proud of your body. Sounds like your body is quite strong and perseverant! And that’s something to love and cherish, even if, at times, you weren’t always kind to your body. Sending love. Thanks for sharing. <3 Lauren

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    • Dear Danielle,
      It is never too late to change the trajectory of your life. You can now live a more healthy life and that will make you strong physically and mentally. I wish you all the best!

      Shelley

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  • To my Cuerpo

    When we were young mommy taught us to care for our bodies internally, clean our bodies and protect our bodies from falling and breaking bones. As we got older I learned I was supposed to love you. Unfortunately someone robbed us of that authentic love. Someone you thought you could trust. I hated you. I wanted to hide you. I didn’t want you to be liked and desired by an old man. I felt uncomfortable with you. I was scared and timid to even defend you. It was wrong to be desired by this man. I would get a boost of happiness when someone my age gave me attention because it wasn’t him. I didn’t just let anyone in you but we got distracted by bad attention. In high school we dealt with a lot of comparisons which made it even more difficult to love you. Now I’m realizing I can’t recall a time when I loved you. I should have treated you right. I should have worn those outfits and done that hairstyle. Even when you spent 40 Weeks creating my baby girl and a long weekend delivering her to this world. I should’ve appreciated you. I should have welcomed each stretch mark. I should’ve appreciated my breast for creating milk for her. And though I could go on with plenty of “should haves” I am happy I do not feel the exact same as before. I am learning to forgive myself for hating you. I have gratitude now and though I may make mistakes I am learning to love you. I am learning to accept and own each “flaw”. I am going to love you from head to toe. From each stretch mark even to my first gray hair. My smile and how small my eyes get when I laugh. My strong legs and hands. I am sorry for the past but give me time. It’ll be worth it and it’ll feel amazing when I finally love YOU.

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    • Aww Michelle. I am so sorry for what happened to you when you were younger. I am sure you know it was not your nor your body’s fault. A predator is a predator. I am so glad to hear you are learning to give yourself and your body grace. You so deserve it. Your body houses a pretty strong soul, and for that alone, you should be so proud. Keep…read more

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    • Hello Michelle,
      I am sorry for what happened to you. You were a helpless innocent victim and now you are a survivor. I am impressed by your strength. Live your life to the fullest! You deserve nothing less then the best in life!

      Shelley

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    • Thank you!! Thank you for your bravery,honesty and heartfelt words especially on a subject as sensitive as this one. My heart goes out to you for some of the things you experienced Michelle as none of it was to no fault of your own.
      I appreciate it too now, appreciate the effects of what loving yourself more can do for your mental health. I am…read more

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  • brianaleanne submitted a contest entry to Group logo of Write a letter or poem to your BodyWrite a letter or poem to your Body 7 months, 2 weeks ago

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    To my loving body…

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  • treasure hunt

    to my body,
    we’ve been together for my whole life
    yet there is so much
    i’m just starting to learn about you

    remember that time our doctor
    suggested that we get on birth control
    because i couldn’t handle the pain
    that you conjured
    in that process where
    you give me a monthly opportunity
    to bring life into this world

    i didn’t understand how hard you worked
    and i numbed your remarkable pain
    for the next half of my life

    i didn’t want to feel you
    …and i didn’t
    but i also didn’t bleed every month
    for fourteen years

    i didn’t realize that i’d been
    hurting you, to numb
    the pain that you caused me
    but what i did to you wasn’t healthy

    it’s been almost two years
    since that other gynecology appointment
    we went to
    when our new doctor told us
    that we were making an uneducated decision
    to get off birth control

    i’m so glad we didn’t listen to her
    i feel as though
    i am just starting to understand you
    and myself
    in new ways since then

    you took some time to bounce back
    from what i did to you
    but after seven months
    you started up that process again

    the pain and blood rushed back
    and now you operate like clockwork
    i’m learning how to ease the pain
    with lifestyle changes
    and tracking our cycle

    turns out, i’m learning a lot about
    my emotions
    now that I’m communicating with you
    on our endocrine system

    thank you for coming back to me
    after i had shut you out for so long
    i feel as though
    we are healing together

    our dad sees it too
    last time we saw him, he said
    “you look like you put on some weight.”
    he said, “you look healthy.”

    our doctor doesn’t have us
    do ‘weight check-ins’ anymore either
    i’m finally willing to listen to you
    to stop depriving you
    of food, water, and love

    those unpredictable and disorderly dots
    you cover me in…do you remember
    how badly i wanted to scratch them off
    as a teenager because ‘everybody’ didn’t have them
    and I was so insecure
    about how we were different

    now, when i look in the mirror
    i appreciate the incalculable speckles
    scattered across our skin
    trickling down us from head to toe

    sometimes, i can even hear
    my late grandmother
    telling us that we, “have the map of Ireland
    on (our) face.”

    if i had been more patient, i wonder if i
    could have loved our natural nose
    when i was sixteen, i thought that nose-job
    would fix my issues i had with you
    and while i love our new nose,
    i can see how little
    appreciation and adoration
    i have given you in other ways

    it’s almost like, once i accepted you
    accepted the pain
    accepted the differences we had from others
    accepted the messages you tried to give me
    i found your beauty
    by discovering your beauty
    i truly began to discover myself

    gone are the days where I numbed
    myself from you
    when our ribs felt as though
    they could poke through our skin,
    when we did not bleed,
    and matte make-up
    turned our map of Ireland
    into a treasure hunt

    love, taylor

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    • Taylor, this is so good. I am glad you found peace with your body and your cycle. I am the same way. I recently stopped drinking caffeine to help with some of my symptoms. The map of Ireland in the form of freckles sounds so beautiful to me. I am glad you are embracing them and all of you. Keep falling in love with you. Cliche but true …You are…read more

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      • Lauren, thank you so much for the kind words and support! I hope that you’re finding some benefits with stopping caffeine and kudos on giving that up- it’s not easy to break habits but it’s very interesting to notice how significant gut health is in general (I worked for a wellness doctor who was very adamant on our guts being our second brain…read more

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    • Dear Taylor,
      I am so glad you have found peace with your body. I hope you continue your positive journey of self love. Your words have touched my heart.

      Shelley

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  • emilieec submitted a contest entry to Group logo of Write a letter or poem to your BodyWrite a letter or poem to your Body 7 months, 2 weeks ago

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    Dear Future Body

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  • She Didnt Know…….

    Dear beautiful woman,

    You ever wake up most days, and you’re all smiles? Yeah, that’s a great feeling! The way I see it is, If you can get through 245 of the 365 days in a year being happy, then that’s a pretty good year to me. That possibly leaves you with 120 days of uncertainty.

    How do you feel on a day-to-day basis? What are you thankful for when you wake up? Do you ever think for one second that you may not be here the next day? Scary thought, huh?

    I woke up one morning in November of 2021, not feeling great. It was during the pandemic and I had a bad cough. I thought the Rona had taken hostage over me. It was just a miserable feeling. My body didn’t feel well. I knew something was wrong.

    The doctor visit was a little bizarre to me. The doctor was prescribing medication to me without checking my lungs out with an x-ray. I asked the doctor “can I have an x-ray?” She replied” sure”. The X-ray results were in and it showed a shadow in my lungs. My body with a shadow didn’t make sense. What does that even mean? I tested negative for corona, strep, and flu. I could not figure out what was going on.

    The insurance didn’t approve me yet for a CAT scan of my lungs. I felt a tug on my lungs, as if someone tapped me and said “we need a further examination”

    Weeks later, I still didn’t feel well. I was at work feeling like I was having an anxiety attack. I never had one before so I couldn’t compare this feeling to anything else. My body was definitely speaking to me. I called an Uber and went straight to the hospital. My body was still tapping me and saying “get a CAT scan”. Sometimes your body can turn in t a Bully to make sure you understand it’s language.

    “I can’t breathe, ma’am”, is what I stated to the doctor. To be honest, physically I could breathe fine but mentally, I could not. I decided to exaggerate just a little so I can get the answers that I was looking for. I was rushed into the machine and received a CAT scan of my lungs.

    “FINALLY, let’s do this”, I said to my body. I could feel my heart beating in my chest. My body was still talking to me. After the scan, I was placed in the waiting room. Scans showed a mass that was near my heart since 2011, has become too big and I will need surgery to remove it.

    I thought to myself “is this woman talking to me, because ain’t no way I had a mass since 2011 and I was never informed”. It’s 2020 now. I asked myself “could that be a mistake?”.

    I continued to do further testing and was able to be seen by a surgeon. The surgeon stated that the cat scans show a mass near my heart and it needs to me removed.

    I was alone in the doctors office trying not to cry. “I have two sons and I need to see them grow into the great young men that they are becoming”. I learned a true lesson of “when your body speaks, you need to listen”

    My surgery was scheduled at another hospital. I couldn’t dare have surgery in a hospital that never informed me of my mass in the first place. My body rejected that surgeon and his theories.

    With the help of my attorney that I worked for, I scheduled my surgery in the City for March 2022. I had an MRI on January 25th. That was my dads birthday. My body knew that I was going to be ok, just for the simple fact that I would get clear answers from a test that I am taking on my dads birthday. He passed in 2018 from colon cancer.

    March 2021 came and I was cut open to hand my mass removed from around my heart. Once I was opened,unbox revealed that it was not near my heart, it was wrapped around my lung. It was huge. My body had a score of “3”and these hospitals scored “0”.
    A thoracic surgeon was on board and he saved the day. I thought to myself “thank god I listened to my body. I would have never known”.

    It was not a speedy recovery. I went from not knowing anything that was going on in my body to having a tumor that was non cancerous out of my body.

    Healing was not easy. I had to go back to work while I was trying to heal. The people I worked for asked me “what’s taking you so long to heal?” A woman being cut down her breast, asking her what’s taking long to heal? Imagine that shit! I quit and didn’t look back.

    I didn’t know that I had the strength to build myself back up. My body has been through plenty of other surgeries but not like this one. My lungs were collapsed during this surgery and that’s not easy. I didn’t know that it takes mental, emotional and physical strength to get yourself back together.

    I have a scar down the middle of my breast and I felt that I would be embarrassed to show my body. It’s a scar of resilience, courage and fight. I fought for my body and I’m glad I did. I am not going to be embarrassed of what happened to my body ever. I’m here and I’m alive.

    Listen to your body at all times. It speaks to you, because you simply wouldn’t know.

    Janet Joshua

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    • Janet, I am so glad you listened to your body and that it was not cancerous. Your body is strong and resilient as are you. Thank you for sharing. <3 Lauren

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  • Silhouette

    I didn’t really know how to go about this but: I have alopecia; this isn’t a haircut.
    I know, I know it looks like I get this done-
    but that’s not the case.
    See its felt strange lately, with all of the “shorty I like your cut”
    & “what’s your shave setting”; because when I first moved here it was a lot of “god bless you” & “are you okay” whispers of “ why would she do that”
    ..why would I be diagnosed with a disease at the age of five?
    Um.
    Now that the shoe is on the other foot; now that things are more ‘positive’-
    I feel a pit in my stomach.
    Because it negates the struggle to get here.
    Assumptions that I’m riding a trend.
    Which, I’m happy that those younger than me w/ the same disease, will receive less scrutiny..but what about me?
    My story untold; still unable to book roles, from the lack of typecast provided for fully bald women:
    living a normal life, not cancerous, not villainous, no powers..where?
    I write my own.
    Submit my screenplays, send publishing companies my pages.
    And I know it takes time, but my voice is muted through the patience; my heart breaks while I wait-
    but I grab the tape.
    Allowing myself space from the rejection I face.
    Because I know in its wake, awaits my fate.

    – written on the L train from Jefferson to Union Sq @ 10:45pm- By Faith Williams

    Instagram: few16
    Email: faithel1994@gmail.com

    Faith Williams

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  • My tampered temple

    You my temple, have been tampered with. However, you’re still standing. You’re still mine. You have been abused in all sorts of ways, yet you stand strong, and this is the reason I stand strong. Physically, emotionally, mentally, beside others, besides myself. Over and over, time and time again. You still heal and shelter me from this life I have been blessed with. You have gifted me with the strength I face this harsh world with. My armor, my shell.
    You have gone from a structure I struggled to build with weight to a structure I try to remodel by losing weight all these years later.
    I have carried children well past the mark of a delivery date, only to have them cut from me because they were too comfortable to leave naturally. You have given me the greatest gifts I have ever been bestowed with. My boys. Now you have blessed me with another child, a blessing only God can have granted us with when he implanted this child in you.
    There are days I feel old and weak, too old to partake in this journey once more. You prove me wrong and get me though another day.
    You heal quickly with no help from the medical professionals. That impresses me daily. The amount of pain you have encountered cannot be imagined or described. If I didn’t experience it, I wouldn’t believe it myself. I trust you now more than ever. Witnessing and mentally being apart of the recovery has led me to believe that the only person that has the power to destroy you is me. I will be better. Kinder. Gentle from now on.
    I apologize for my mistakes. Please forgive me for my sins against you. I take full accountability for what you have endured and I now find myself having the need to not only forgive others, but most importantly, I must forgive myself first.
    I want nothing more than to stop surviving and to start living the life you have carried me through. You have been my protector all these years and now it’s my turn to protect you.

    Sincerely, Your mind and soul

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    • Lourdes, Congratulations on being pregnant with your third baby! That’s amazing and your body deserves so much praise. It’s strong, resilient and miraculous. And I am glad you see that as well. Keep embracing yourself and your body and all the power that comes along with both. You’re amazing. Thank you for sharing your story, and congrats again!…read more

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  • Between Body and Mind

    Dear Body,

    I’m sorry but
    I can’t look anymore
    Look at the marks
    The pores
    The bumps
    The scars
    The stories
    The inescapable memories
    Of hurting yourself
    Of others hurting you
    The visceral ache
    Devoid of acceptance
    The reality of this body
    Is not a poem
    It is a desperate plea:
    “Please let me love myself”
    Echoing off of every inch of skin
    Filling your temples
    With blood

    Dear Mind,

    You have no eyes to see
    Our scars are a testament
    To what we have endured
    The bumps on our skin
    Are bumps in the road we travel
    The weight in our chest
    Chainmail for the pain we perceive
    The fear you feel when you look upon us
    Is not a product of the body
    It is what the world has taught you
    To j u d g e
    The reality of this body
    Is not a poem
    It is a desperate plea:
    “Please let me love myself”
    Enough to want to stay
    Enough to inspire others
    To keep the wolves at bay

    Dear Body,

    I’m sorry I can’t look at you
    Without crying
    I’m sorry that I told you
    To take down the mirrors,
    Close your eyes in the shower,
    You don’t deserve new clothes,
    No one could love a body like yours,
    You are not worthy of love-
    I’m sorry I called you names
    Turning joyful moments
    Into shame spirals
    I’m sorry I can’t stop comparing
    Every other body to the one we have
    I’m sorry that the world wanted us
    To be this defeated
    The reality of this body
    Is not a poem
    It is a desperate plea:
    “Please let me love myself
    I would give anything
    To know that feeling”

    Dear Mind,

    We define our reality
    It is created together
    Compose our symphony
    The reality of this body
    Is not a poem
    It is a desperate plea:
    “I love you
    Unconditionally
    Inextricably
    Intentionally”
    As you are learning
    How to love me

    Taryn Goodman

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    • Taryn – This is a very powerful piece. I am happy with the way you ended it and that you are loving your body. Your body is incredibly resilient and strong. Never forget that. Every day, whether you feel it or not, look in the mirror and tell your body and yourself, “You are amazing. you are beautiful. I love you.” Confidence will automatically…read more

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    • I really enjoyed this piece and connected with it on various levels.
      The reality of this body
      Is not a poem
      It is a desperate plea:
      “Please let me love myself”
      Oftentimes I wouldn’t even look in the mirror cause I was ashamed at the reflection scouring back at Me. Thank you for a gentle yet realistic reminder to love all of Me, mind and body whi…read more

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  • _yannaxjaye submitted a contest entry to Group logo of Write a letter or poem to your BodyWrite a letter or poem to your Body 7 months, 2 weeks ago

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    Home

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  • madalyn submitted a contest entry to Group logo of Write a letter or poem to your BodyWrite a letter or poem to your Body 7 months, 2 weeks ago

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    The Weight You Carry

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  • Woman in Smile

    The women he paints
    In pastels but mostly blue
    Reveling in intimacy
    Bathing just standing
    Bending without a care
    At first glance
    not models
    But women, they are.
    Muffin tops
    and never toned
    Humans, Women, Tender creatures.

    Curves and love handles like vines
    No start or finish line
    All intertwining,
    A beautiful mystery, I see.

    I look at these paintings, mesmerized
    Go home and see,
    Steam from the shower confessing
    Beautiful body, that is she.
    Needs not look a certain way
    Neither his nor hers
    Only mine, how divine.

    Why do they care
    What I should wear?
    The clothes,
    Kissing and hugging my body
    Is nothing compared
    to the blissful smile I wear.

    Endangered smile
    Once again.
    After 50 years or so,
    They’re taking the reigns.
    You take my body,
    You take my everything,
    Especially that once luminous smile.

    Darlene Cervantes

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    • Darlene, This is so creative. I love this part, “Why do they care
      What I should wear?
      The clothes,
      Kissing and hugging my body
      Is nothing compared
      to the blissful smile I wear.”

      I love this idea of ignoring what others think and loving yourself. And even more importantly, living life with a blissful smile. No mater what changes, or how much time…read more

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      • Thank you, Lauren! That’s exactly what I was going for! Self-love is essential. Looking on the bright side of things and wearing a smile can definitely change one’s perspective!

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  • The Hand Dealt

    Dear Body,

    I love you because I severely dislike you.

    At one point, I did not know if I would need a helmet to protect me from physically breaking a bone of yours. That is not my only bone to pick with you; it’s hard to swallow that everyday activities are challenging because of you: shoes, buttoning shirts, opening cans, etc., are taxing, but the younger me did not care about any of that: what I missed the most was sports.

    Kids are taught to move their bodies from a very young age. Thus sports are encouraged. Signup sheets with a multitude of options are (sometimes)literally thrown their way.

    Some are tossed in the garbage; some are run over to a parent or guardian as fast as Usain Bolt. Either way, as one of the only physically disabled kids in the school (that I could see), most people had a choice as to what they wanted to do with that sheet. I didn’t.

    Before I even got the paper, my hopes and dreams of being on a team were crushed, like most tennis serves at Wimbledon, fast.

    My feet actually did touch the grass of a baseball field, but only with the help of a “ball person” — yes, that is a play-on-words for a person who retrieves the tennis ball after it is hit into the net during a tournament.

    I can’t participate like everyone else because My reactions are such I might get hit with the ball if I did not catch it.

    Remember The saying “a picture tells more than 1000 words” (made famous by Henrik Ibsen, a Norwegian playwright)? When I was a kid, it told the whole darn story.

    My reality was different than my classmates. My dreams, not. Like many people in my age group at the time, I wanted to be a professional athlete.

    I still remember thinking a kid on my little league team would make the majors. Not only that, thinking he was Shohei Ohtani — arguably the greatest player in baseball ever.

    This kid seemed to be as tall as the Empire State Building. The chances are not that high that he did make it (although my brain is pulling on every cell to convince me otherwise.)

    The chances of me looking up if he did: pretty high! (insert laughing emoji)

    Everyone and anyway who stepped foot on any field or court lived out a dream I could only imagine; however, one day, my physical therapist (PT) and I were practicing my walking and running speed.

    I broke a personal record (I think it was 30 feet in 10 seconds) enough to convince my mom and PT that I should try my feet on the track team.

    I practiced for about three days, running around the whole track once. My mom saw I was exhausted, and after the second day, she told my coach to take it easy on me. I probably did not run more than 30 feet in practice once after and quit.

    So, I used the body of this article to moan and grown about my very own. How about I turn the eggs sunny side up — hopefully, that frown will turn upside down!

    Now at days, I look at things from “the other shoe.”

    Sports are about the team and the people who celebrate with you. No game-winning hit can compare to “lacing them up with my team, “trying to play the cards I was dealt and “tying the loose ends” that cerebral palsy hands me every day, and when I “lace them up,” one by one, we have won the Super Bowl.

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    • Jake, I think being an athlete and competing is about making the most of your given abilities, and pushing yourself, and growing and getting better. You have done just that. You have so many reasons to be proud of yourself and your body,. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being such an important part of our unsealed family. <3 Lauren

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  • Dear Body, Love Soul

    Dear Body,

    I’ve been meaning to write this letter for some time and it’s taken me years to find the words but I felt it’s important you finally know how I feel.

    You know we’ve had a complicated relationship. For decades, I felt that you didn’t hear what I wanted. That try as I might to change you so you better reflected me and who we are together, you refused to cave to what I wanted. And to be honest, that was infuriating to me. Especially some of the pranks you pulled. From the zits you gave me on picture day to the “time of the month + white pants” incident. But after decades of an unsteady truce and while we probably weren’t as secure as we should’ve been in our relationship, I thought we had finally started to work together, albeit somewhat skeptically.

    But then it happened.

    After what he did to us, I know we were both hurting in ways that are indescribable. And I am not proud of this but I have to tell you… I got angry with you again. You seemed to heal so much faster than I did. While I still felt broken, I watched the bruises, the cuts, and the injuries we learned were below the surface just heal away. Slowly but so much faster than mine. Yes, some of those marks are still there but compared to the ones he left on me? It didn’t seem right.

    Once again, we didn’t seem to match each other. I know it wasn’t fair, but this resentment and anger was probably why I kept you up at night; refused to let you sleep. I was struggling so much to come to terms with what had happened, that to see you rest made me livid. And it wasn’t either of our faults but I couldn’t accept it at the time. I blamed you in a lot of ways – not being stronger, not being faster, not fighting back longer (even when you were trying SO hard). I know now you did everything you could to keep us alive and we wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you doing whatever it took to keep us conscious and breathing. I just didn’t see it at the time.

    I know it then became so lonely for both of us for a while. Even though I know you had healed so much, I couldn’t look at you without seeing all the reminders of what had happened. I stopped helping to take care of you. I was too focused on myself to be there for you in the ways you probably needed. And I know that’s why you probably started acting out, taking unnecessary risks. With me so checked out and distant, you were just trying to find me again and pull me from hiding in my protective bubble. Truth be told… I was afraid. I was so scared to feel that pain again that I went numb. While you kept up a front that we were functioning and fine, I felt like I was stuck inside a block of ice – able to see out but frozen in reaching outside ourselves and connecting once again.

    It was you who started melting my walls. Maybe it was my curiosity over why you acted like you did – sometimes so brazen and other times falling apart over the simplest things. Maybe it was confusion – how sometimes you would shake and I didn’t realize until someone held us close. And that while we wanted closeness, how quickly you’d push them away.

    But it wasn’t until I saw you pulling away from ALL the things we once loved that I realized how fiercely you were trying to protect me. That you didn’t want to do these things without me because, just like I literally couldn’t feel the sensations without you, you couldn’t FEEL the same things without me. And that heartbreak was my wakeup call.

    I know therapy was uncomfortable. Hell, it was for me too! But I appreciate you making us show up for every session and your patience as I worked through a lot of our trauma. It wasn’t easy but I think we can both admit now how much we needed it and how much it helped our relationship. We had to go through some really hard truths but if it wasn’t for therapy, I don’t think I would’ve seen you the way I do now.

    I truly see that you ARE the reflection of me I didn’t know I needed. The way you show our joy when you throw back our head to soak in the setting sun; through your happy feet stomping out a rhythm on cool polished floors and how widely and wildly you open your curled lips so I can breathe out my screams of laughter. I can tell your eyes sparkle once again when something moves us and notice when an idea I’ve whispered to you really hits home, you almost hum with anticipation. The way you capture our sorrow with the quiet tears that roll down our cheeks and when the memories come back, how you wrap me up and hold me tight inside to remind me I am safe with you. That I can trust you. That we have been to hell and back and that you will continue to do whatever it takes to protect and love me until the day we part.

    You are not perfect and neither am I. You are who I need and I will never have the words to say how grateful I am that we are together. No matter what the world says or how others treat us, I will always see you for all your strength and all your beauty, even when we struggle. The world has not been kind but you have taught me kindness that makes me want to share it across the universe. I am not afraid because now I know when one of us is weak, the other will keep us strong. You are my home no matter where life takes us and I cannot wait for all our future adventures together.

    I love you with all of me.

    Soul

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    • I am so sorry for the abuse and trauma you endured but I am also in awe of your strength and resilience. You have so many reasons to be proud of your body and your soul. As a sexual assault survivor, I realized that both the mind and body need to heal. And whether you realize it or not, they do it together. You are incredible. I am so proud of…read more

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  • kaliyahmiya submitted a contest entry to Group logo of Write a letter or poem to your BodyWrite a letter or poem to your Body 7 months, 2 weeks ago

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    Life on Mars

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  • Fearfully Made

    Something straight from Song of Songs is what I feel for you.

    For me.

    Staring at my reflection, bare and soft and brown and fluid from each angle, I begin to understand where God was going when He created me.

    Safe inside my mother’s womb – the closes place to divinity, everything about me formed: fearfully and wonderfully.

    Hair that curls and grows from replenishment like the Earth’s rain.
    Jet black iris’s that speak my soul, pause time and provoke truth.
    Full lips and high cheek bones naturally inherited from an ebony king and mocha cream queen who had trouble realizing they were born royalty.
    Breasts that fed bronze flesh magnificently manifested from me.
    Limbs extended with grace and great strength at the same time.
    Silk smooth skin which tints to caramel in the Sun and cools in the wind.

    I am.

    Every part of me threaded together, piece by piece and so intricately; no other collection of matter or energy can match me identically.

    There is not a strand of hair on my head God hasn’t accounted for, perfecting the texture and pattern, marveling at the color and precisely measuring each length.

    Carefully placed each freckle upon my face and every beauty mark on my shoulder, hand and hip as if to connect galaxies inside my dermis far greater than the Big Dip.

    Filled with a specific flavor that quenches any thirst and erupts from combustion like chemistry.

    You should never feel free enough to tell me I ‘do not’ have favor, emit magic nor glow effortlessly; that is borderline blasphemy.

    The complexity of this puzzle screams ethereally and although I sin inside and outside of this body – daily and quite unethically, I still strive to be presented without fault, pristine and purely.

    I have admonished all of my idols, rejected the worship of anyone or anything the Creator molded as a mortal being but unfortunately, I am hoping it is excusable for me to at least be THIS obsessed with ME.

    Clarisse H.

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    • Clarisse, I looooooove this! And of course, it’s “excusable” to be obsessed with all that you are. Our society demonizes women with confidence simply so that can profit off our insecurities! Crazy as it sounds, it’s rebellious to love yourself. But also empowering and totally worth it. Keep taking the world by storm. You are magical in so many…read more

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  • skchanson submitted a contest entry to Group logo of Write a letter or poem to your BodyWrite a letter or poem to your Body 7 months, 2 weeks ago

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    My Vessel

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  • The Body that Holds Me

    Dear Body,

    I never know how to start letters.
    I’d ask how you’re doing, but I’m happy to say I think I’ve finally a pretty good grasp on finding the answer to that.
    For years I ignored your requests and even demands.
    Thought you were too much and needed to be less.
    Thought not eating would impress.
    Tried to squeeze you into boxes you weren’t meant to fit in.
    Tried to make you appealing to everyone but the one who was in your skin.

    I can’t say exactly when the shift happened, or what changed my mind.
    I think it was gradual, more like dawn than a light switch.
    A slow burn of self love growing brighter as I worried less about the size of the stitches that made up my clothes and more about the person who filled them.

    Instead of running from the mirror, I paused to Really look into it.
    To sit and stare at the human within, and not shy away from certain parts.
    To relish in the rolls, feeling each one with gratitude for how my body reminds me that I deserve all the space I take up.
    To lounge with the looser parts of my skin and not feel the need to suck it all in.
    To soak in the stretch marks and the story they tell of how I will not be contained.
    To find each freckle and blemish and scar, to let them remind me of how I’ve come so far.

    I’m sorry for the ways I have misused and abused you.
    I’m sorry for the times I put you in a position to let others do that, too.
    I’m sorry for how I starved you, even when you growled with hunger.
    I’m sorry for how I then turned around and smothered you with food, while you silently pleaded for me to find balance.
    I’m sorry for how often I told you that you weren’t enough.
    I’m sorry that I truly believed you would never be loved.

    You have taught me to choose you.
    You are the only body I have, and I am grateful that it’s you.
    You have led me through challenges and adventures that I thought people like me couldn’t get through.
    You have opened my eyes to the fact that I am more than what other people view.
    You have endured hatred and vitriol and strife,
    And still,
    You have held me more than any other person in my life.

    Thank you.
    Sincerely,
    Me

    Lauran Hirschi

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    • Omg Lauran, This is incredible. Your last line is like a mic drop – just wow! You (and your body) have been through a lot together, but through it all, you have come to realize how strong you both are, and together you are unstoppable. You are beautiful but even more than that your power, attitude, and mindset make you UNSTOPPABLE. And any time…read more

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  • House of Shame

    Dear Body,

    For years you protected me
    Shielded me from the truth
    that our twelve your old brain
    couldn’t comprehend

    For years you stored the memories
    of callused hands clamped over our mouth
    Hot breath in our ears
    The grip of a grown man’s hands on our
    Twelve-year-old wrists

    He forced you to become
    a House of Shame and Secrecy
    No one will believe you
    You deserved this
    For years,
    Even I didn’t believe you

    And so we spiraled
    So full of words
    No space for food
    We withered away
    Made lines on our wrists
    To bleed out the diseased
    Not even realizing
    The secrecy was the disease

    So we stopped swallowing words
    Learned to speak our truth
    Whispered the words
    To family
    Teachers
    Mentors
    Surrendered them to the police
    Gently placing the truth
    In their open hands
    Wondering – will they believe me?
    And they did
    And the district attorney did
    And the grand jury did
    And at the age of thirty-two
    We commanded our truth
    Owned it and accepted it
    And the jury said

    Guilty.

    The jury said guilty
    The jury said guilty

    And the jury said
    Guilty
    Twelve times

    Twelve times
    For twelve years

    Dear Body,

    You are no longer a house of shame
    You are no longer a sack of bones
    You are not a vessel of abuse
    A tool for trauma

    You are alive
    You are a survivor

    We’ve been through hell
    Separated by our truth
    But now we heal as one

    Love,
    Your Brain

    Anna M Smith

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    • Anna I am literally in tears reading this. You are a hero! I am so very sorry for what happened to you but look at you now. You are a HERO! You are so right that secrecy is a disease. I trademarked the phrase Turn Your Secrets into Superpowers for The Unsealed. You truly embody that sentiment. Thank you for your strength. Thank you for your…read more

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