Mental and Physical: Perceiving Who I Am

My body has been all over the place in my younger years

A genuine mess of combat boots and shirts that were too tight

Bikinis and oversized plaid shirts,

With hair as short as my fingernails

My figure never knowing where my curves were supposed to be

Never wanting them at all

Fighting to surpress the confusion in my head

Why did I grind my teeth at the thought of anyone staring at my breasts?

Yet the same day, I would wear a skintight tanktop with no jacket

Denim shorts barely grazing the curve of my ass

Why did I get a thrill out of showing my body,

But only to growl and swipe at the attention it received?

I’m sorry to those young men, who thought they were getting somewhere

But the road they followed only lead to a dead end

I promise I was as confused as you guys were

I had no idea what I was doing

——

Those same breasts became a burden in the years following

I now only relied on the tightness of a shirt to be able to compress those swells

Muffling their much-too-obvious existence however I could

Layers of shirts worked to my advatange,

And I began wearing two to three shirts on a daily basis

Regardless of the weather or the temperature of the area

The constant quips of “Aren’t you hot?” or “Show a little skin for once!”

Covering and engulfing me like another layer of fabric

I’m sorry to the woman at the Returns desk at Walmart,

Who had to see my watery eyes as I shoved a pile of men’s shirts,

That my mother had disapproved of for school,

Into their hands, my own shaking feverishly

Like those of a person that had been caught stealing

Except the only thing being stolen was my identity

—–

The hinges of my lower body were rusty

As I struggled to walk down the street

Hips and kneecaps fumbling in their own presence,

Fighting against the feminine instincts they were designed to follow

Instructions that I had long thrown away

I’m sorry for the people standing or walking behind me,

Being forced to watch and conform

As my pace and style changes several times in the course of two minutes,

Doing my best at attempting the swagger of the gentleman in front of me

—–

All of the times I considered myself confident

Secure and comfortable in my own skin

Yet I stand in front of the mirror for nearly hours every day

Tucking, flattening, straightening, pulling, hiding

Every crevice or crack that could be discovered

Outside of the comfort of my room

The Photoshop in my mind’s eye working overtime,

Making adjustments to the reflection that I saw

Tweaking every detail before I could even feel the strength

To step outside and face the public’s scrutinizing eye

—–

All of the bullshit I repeat to my friends and family

Spewing my self-respect and love for what I looked like

When I was probably dealing with the purest form of body-shaming:

Denial to the point that I believed I looked like an entirely different person

An entirely different person

Just so I could handle walking through a grocery store

The muscles I built from working out everyday

Felt false against my jarringly feminine hips

I couldn’t handle the idea of being called a “strong female”

As if the bulge of my biceps really set off the color of my ovaries

Ignoring or replying with a whiplash of sarcasm

When a friend would tell me what an incredible body I possessed

Though it was more of a case

Of the body possessing me

I had to be perceived as male in the social world

I craved it like I craved a good cup of coffee

But how come I felt a burning embarrassment

When I got what I wanted?

What is it that I want from the world that I’m

Just.

Not.

Getting.

?

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