When You Look in The Mirror - a Poem to Love your Body


When I turned 12, I began to struggle with my body image.

I had starved, binged, and purged. I suffer from bulimia. I had felt ashamed of it and wished I didn’t have it. I had used my body as a tool to get love from men. And I had allowed them to mistreat my body for their pleasure. 

The relationship between my body and I was anything but loving.

As a result, I didn’t feel safe in my own skin. I couldn’t feel the pleasure of having a body. Forget about gut instinct, or intuition, when my gut was busy with being either starved or stuffed.

My body was a burden that I had to drag around - not what it’s meant to be: the radiant place where my spirit inhabits.  

At some point, I realized that if I want to live fully, I need to give love and care to the thing that helps me go from the bedroom to the kitchen, open a pickle jar, and do everything in my life including typing these words on a keyboard.  

Energy, aliveness, the pleasure of breathing fresh air through healthy lungs.

Loving your body can give you that, and much more.

So I hope this poem opens the door.


When you look in the mirror 

When you look in the mirror
You don't see what I see

You see
the fat beneath your navel
the bags under your eyes
a team of pimples hanging out around your cheeks.
Your small eyes with no eye-liner, your short lashes with no mascara, your bare lips with no lipsticks,
your frizzy hair with no straightening and no curling up

You see
the un-Intagram-worthy, photoshop-much-needed, cosmetic-surgery-preferred, treadmill-punishment-deserved
When you look in the mirror
I wish you see what I see
I see
a strong heart beating in your chest, sending a mighty river of blood to the lands of your body
legs that can dance
arms that can open and close in an embrace
toes that can dig themselves in the sand 6:15 pm sunset in a faraway shore  
hands that can hold a pencil and make beautiful things out of nothing
eyes that can see seven colors of a rainbow and tiny dust particles floating in sunlight on a quiet morning in a quiet room. 
mouth that can smile the kind of smile that sends butterflies in someone's stomach and
lips that can touch their lips and give warmth to the skin on the back of their neck
nose that can tell the difference between potato soup and a loaf of freshly baked bread  
ears that can hear birds sing in pre-dawn and the hum of cars at forenoon and - most importantly - all the songs ever written by Jason Mraz. 

And all your marks, and scars, and curves, and rolls, and dots - oh the natural beauty of a natural woman 

Next time when you look in the mirror
I hope you see what I see: 
a body that can
move the kind of move that makes the sun turn his nake
and can
dance the kind of dance that makes a man turn his heart - perhaps even his life - upside down

all these years
you were blinded from your own beauty
blindfolded by a culture
that would put your naked body next to a car
to sell more cars
next to a beer
to sell more beers
next to a man
to sell more deodorant. 
A culture that screams: 
"Your body is a measuring stick of your worth." 

A culture that never whispers the truth:
"Your body is the holy temple of your soul." 

A newborn baby girl sees her mother's body for the very first time
How do you think she feels?
Love... love... so much love...

And the baby girl sees her own body for the very first time:
her marks and scars,
her curves and rolls,
her dots and spots,
her eyes and ears,
her toes and nose and fingers and palms...
How do you think she feels?
Love... love... so much love...

She knows
Her body is Love.
Simply because,
it is hers.  

You were once that little girl.

You're still that little girl. 

Your body is Love. 
Simply because, 
it is yours. 

So my darling, my natural woman. 
When you look in the mirror
I hope you see what she sees. 

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