I look in the mirror (poem)

I look in the mirror,
I see stretch marks,
A belly bulge,
Scars that will always be there,
Breasts that I wish
had never developed.
I see spots on a face
That looks younger than 33,
Crooked teeth that crumble,
A double chin peaking out
at certain angles.
I see the faults that
society has trained me to see.

I turn from the mirror,
Run my hands over my skin.
I feel the scar from a bypass
that saved my life peaking
out from under my left arm.
I feel the bones of my
fingers where I broke them,
on that windy day in a van
door that slammed shut.
I feel my chest rise and fall
with each asthmatic breath.
The bumps of eczema on my arms,
And I find myself starting to smile
with love for my body.

I look back in the mirror,
naked as the day I was born.
Instead of thighs covered in
stretch marks and scars,
I see legs that despite the pain
from arthritis and self harm carry
me through the world each day.
Brown eyes covered by glasses
that allow my brain to avoid
the glare, but that create my
view of things, including me.
The small mole above my cupid’s bow,
referred to as a ‘beauty spot’,
accentuates soft lips.

When I look into the mirror,
I turn and slowly take in
the physical me, and I start
to find I’m not ashamed.
Stretch marks are my tiger stripes,
won through eating disorder
recovery and teenage growth.
My small gentle hands, childsize
in fact, hold pen to paper and my
girlfriend’s delicate hand.
Instead of fat I start to see health
and beauty, my skin mostly radiant,
the small patch of eczema
a sign of the changing seasons.

I look in the mirror
and see the child who doctors
said wouldn’t live past 5,
I nod at her and smile. We haven’t
done badly, my body and I.
We may not meet society’s
expectations, but we’ve
exceeded our own. My body
and I are beautiful, perfect,
in every way. There is nothing
else we could ever be.
The uneven surfaces, the pain,
the disabilities, these are tokens
of a struggle and a life well lived.
And as I look in the mirror,
I wouldn’t change a thing.

(c) Scribblenubbin 2015

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