It seems

like every week I hear a new story

that makes people lose faith in themselves rather

than recognizing our morphed humanity.

a pianist left his wife

because after nine months, her shirts were too tight and

my sister was told she wasn’t in shape to be loved and

I have this friend.

She uses self-deprecation

in the reluctant everyday conversations

she has between her body and her bedroom mirror.

It took her 16 years to smile at herself.

She couldn’t avoid the night terrors of

knowing there were other women who stood in solemn solidarity.

It took another three

for her to digest her feelings

about how her reflection is not as vital as the words she speaks.

And when she was 20, she was finally able to fathom

that someone had the ability to love her enough for both of them.

On those days,

he would lay

in the meadow breeze of her voice.

He wished on every freckle that resembled a dandelion petal.

Her curves were mountains

and he couldn’t wait to climb them.

To him, she was beautiful.

He had built a pedestal.

He helped her fly.

Then he picked all her dandelions,

and suddenly, to him, she was not worth the climb.

She found faux seeds

on her bathroom floor where the numbers

on her scale looked better than the meal she couldn’t get herself to eat.

Forgetful of what her native flower was,

Her pedestal disappeared,

and she was left falling right in front of her bedroom mirror.

And it only reminded her of

every bodily aspect he didn’t love anymore.

Though I begged her to remember

It is not love when someone takes what makes you you

just so they can stop being irrevocably jealous of your beauty.

It is not love when someone tears themselves down

and holds your head under the water

to keep them from drowning.

I begged her to remember

life is not a beauty contest.

Validation from others is only a rocky, dead-end path.

Imagine taking every flower, only to have it wither after picking it.

Instead of letting it be.

Letting it grow.

Letting her grow.

Loving her meadow

unconditionally.

I know.

She will still find reasons to love him.

We all do.

even though every time you look in the mirror, you can see his drawings of where he wanted you to carve your own body in order for him to hold you.

It is not love when a part of you is petrified he is going to leave

you because you gained a few

pounds.

When you feel you are only gorgeous when he tells you that you are.

When being able to see your bones makes you happy because maybe he’ll stay.

He did not love her.

Please. Remember.

Her meadow. Her mirror will love her again.

I told her she was so caught up in trying to plant new seeds-

The dandelions he picked were only weeds-

that kept her from keeping an eye on her forever giving, giving tree.

Believe me

when I say it was not his love she needs.

She needs to break her mirror because it tells her only what her mind sees.

She needs to love her meadow so much that flowers could be stampeded

on and she could still find beauty in her soil

She needs to learn that her stretch marks are lines on a map to loving herself

and the treasure is so hard to find, but once she finds it,

she will know she is beautiful for the rest of time.

She needs to barricade the misconception of needing anyone

else to love her in order for her to be worthy.

Because

her own love is enough

She is worthy.

The pianist’s wife is worthy.

My sister is worthy

I am worthy.

You are worthy.

Remember, he is not worth it.

You are more than worthy.

CategoriesPoetry
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Aliyah Rose

Aliyah Rose is a director, designer, playwright, and poet who received her BA from Drew University. She currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she is a waitress by day, and by night she is constantly working on theatre projects with local theatre companies, when she isn't at a local concert or snuggling with her cat.

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