Looking into the mirror, a stranger’s shadow clouds my view-
Lumpy clouds fog up the glass as I trace the ridges on my skin,
Pinpricks of rose buds stem from my back, a constellation of imperfections.
I would rather close my eyes than look back,
So I pull on a sweater and cover up as much as I can, until I’m barely a person.
Tearing sharp words out of my throat and lashing myself with them until my eyes water,
Breaking myself down a fragment at a time, until there was nothing left inside.

Clawing at my soft flesh whenever I saw anyone with three measurements smaller than mine,
It was unbearably miserable.
Obsessively collecting glossy magazines to worship at altered images, false gods.
Being less meant feeling more.
Desperate to find the ivory sculptures under my skin, I prayed at the temples of black and white Tumblr pictures,
But no one told me that the girls were hungry, they were fading away, or unhappy-
All I knew was what I saw; fetishized images of girls made of smoke and sadness,
And so I became sadder, and I let the raw rain drip down my chin and into my hands.

Once my dry cheeks were left with trails of salt I asked the stranger in the mirror her name, and when I acknowledged her she cried;
She’d been alone and excluded for so long, she had forgotten what it felt like to be loved.
Accepting imperfections as stars that are never identical but each beautiful in singularity, we sung together for the first time.
That night we talked all night, and we decided to change for each other.
I would be kinder and she would work harder to shed her skin to reveal the butterfly beneath-
She still looks the same to me, but now instead of ignoring her I smile and wave,
And it already feels healthier, but knowing with each beat of my heart that I am working towards something better keeps me going.

One day, maybe not today, I will stare back and smile,
I will wear a two piece on a sandy beach and not be scared, maybe not today, but one day, so tomorrow I might be happy.


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