Our kiss is a secret handshake, a password.
We love like spies, like bruised prize fighters,
Like children building tree houses.
Our love is serious business.
One look from you and my spine reincarnates as kite string.
When I hesitate to hold your hand,
it is because to know is to be responsible for knowing.
There is no clean way to enter
the heavy machinery of the heart.
Just jagged cutthroat questions.
Just the glitter and blood production.
The truth is this:
My love for you is the only empire
I will ever build.
When it falls,
as all empires do,
my career in empire building will be over.
I will retreat to an island.
I will dabble in the vacation-hut industry.
I will skulk about the private libraries and public parks.
I will fold the clean clothes.
I will wash the dishes.
I will never again dream of having the whole world.
I sit before flowers hoping they will train me in the art of opening up. I stand on mountain tops believing that avalanches will teach me to let go. I know nothing, but I am here to learn.
I am not the first person you loved.
You are not the first person I looked at
with a mouthful of forevers. We
have both known loss like the sharp edges
of a knife. We have both lived with lips
more scar tissue than skin. Our love came
unannounced in the middle of the night.
Our love came when we’d given up
on asking love to come. I think
that has to be part
of its miracle.
This is how we heal.
I will kiss you like forgiveness. You
will hold me like I’m hope. Our arms
will bandage and we will press promises
between us like flowers in a book.
I will write sonnets to the salt of sweat
on your skin. I will write novels to the scar
of your nose. I will write a dictionary
of all the words I have used trying
to describe the way it feels to have finally,
finally found you.
And I will not be afraid
of your scars.
I know sometimes
it’s still hard to let me see you
in all your cracked perfection,
but please know:
whether it’s the days you burn
more brilliant than the sun
or the nights you collapse into my lap
your body broken into a thousand questions,
you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
I will love you when you are a still day.
I will love you when you are a hurricane.
But, even if you’re not fat, if you’re a woman, you’re probably still so caught up with your toxic weight shit that you can’t even see straight. During my working life I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been part of these ridiculous workplace group diets. Almost all of the participants have been women. Sometimes they even try to bribe one another with money. They all put in ten dollars on the first week and whoever loses the most wins the pool at the end of 4 months, or whatever it is. Look, I’m like you. I’ve done it too. And at a perfectly normal, healthy weight I’ve done it. All because of a sick, shitful, ugly little voice in the back of my head that tells me I ought to be smaller.
And that’s the rub, right there. Exactly why do we want to be smaller? What exactly is the appeal of being smaller? How does it benefit us? Does it make us better mothers? Better students? Better lovers? Better artists? Scientists? Friends? Does it make us more badass badasses?
No, no, no, no, no. You must see that it doesn’t. It doesn’t do anything but make us smaller.
Babies and puppies are small. So are dimes and Skittles. You’re a fucking woman. A woman! You are entitled to occupy as much fucking space as you like with your awesomeness, and you better be suspicious as fuck of anybody who tells you differently.
Why, ladies? Why must we continue to whittle ourselves down? Who is it for? What is it for? You can walk through a certain aisle at the pharmacy or at the grocery store and see the language of diminishment all over the packaging for weight loss aids of all kinds. “Shrink your waist.” “Lose inches off your thighs.” “Slim down.” “Get skinny.”
How about “Grow your mind.” “Increase your confidence and productivity.” “Beef up your knowledge.” “Enlarge your scope of asskicking.”
That’s a valid message for women and girls: grow, expand, branch out, open up, get bigger, wider, faster, stronger, better, smarter. Go up not down. Get strong, not skinny.
You are not here to get smaller. You are not here to have a thin waist and thighs. You are not here to disappear. You’re here to change the world! Change the fucking world, then! Forget about “losing a few pounds.” Think about what you could be gaining instead.