Our Bodies Are Perfect, Queerly Dear
Little note: This letter contains reference to my belly and our bodies. It includes a personal struggle about who I see when I look in the mirror, and encourages self-love.
A couple of weeks ago, I had to go to a funeral, but had no clue what to wear. So, we came up with a plan: Drive to said funeral and stop off at an outlet store, where I could buy some trousers or a dress. That's how I ended up in front of a full-length mirror, staring at my body, lost. Every dress and pair of trousers I put on didn't seem to fit my shape or looked, in my eyes, wrong.
My belly stuck out. It was all I could see.
As an activist, I know that my body is perfect. As a person, it seems I'm not so sure. Since I came out as non-binary, I often hear a critical voice when I look in the mirror. My feelings are complicated by a health condition that causes me pain and bloating, and makes my belly feel "overly" large. I look in the mirror and see a disproportionate person. It's as if my pain and discomfort are ballooning, for the world to see.
"Perhaps your belly is reaching out for love," says my therapist.
Truth is, when I feel broken about my body, it's because I'm seeing others, not myself. An idea of what I "should" look like has snuck through my filters. And that comparison sucks.
Comparisons create binaries, I figure. And binaries split us, causing isolation, judgment, cruelty, dismay. I don't look at others, judging their bellies. I accept that we're all different and I see those differences as wonderful. Yet in the mirror, I seek illusory "ideals." When my partner says I'm beautiful, I believe him. Why can't I see what he sees, for myself?
Recently, I've realized that the answer is to shower my body and belly with love. I've bought myself a rose quartz that I meditate with. I use body cream and reiki, and tell my belly I love it. Every day, when I go through the pain and discomfort, I tell my belly I'm proud of it, that it's doing a great job. I do this without comparison, wherever I can. And I'll keep doing so, day after day.
I give myself permission to view myself as a non-binary goddess. What others think about that doesn't matter, I tell myself, because it makes sense to me.
"Let’s stop 'tolerating' or 'accepting' difference," writes the amazing Kate Bornstein, "as if we’re so much better for not being different. Instead, let’s celebrate difference, because in this world it takes a lot of guts to be different and to act differently."
It takes a lot of guts. Hear that, belly? Lots of you is good. And I can celebrate that.
I think a great place to start, when we're fighting for equality, is with our own lives. If we truly want to exist without the splits that cause us to compare, instead of celebrate, difference, then we must believe in the healing power of love. Perhaps, when we learn to love the parts of ourselves that trouble us, we transcend comparisons, and embrace ourselves and others.
That's a world I want to live in. Are you with me?
Love you, queerly dear,
You can sign up for my Queerly Dearest newsletter here, if you'd like me to let you know when I write you new letters. Much love, Star.