91

I was taught in youth that my body
was designed for a man’s eye
the frill of my skirt, the flick of my hair
the very weight I carried
in my thighs that touch
in my chin that appears
only when I’m smiling
much too wide

I’ve grown in recent years to
shy away from these expectations
and do what I feel is right for me
because if my body is truly my own
I will be having the last laugh
and he has no right to tell me otherwise.

 

I’m participating in #OursToOwn, an activation for you to write, sing or draw what “my body, my choice” means to you. For a chance to win $10,000 to a charity of your choice, click here to take part!

Love,
ELLE

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90

I think of myself as a collection of versions
an orchestra of variation
scribbled in the margins
revisions to a song
I’ve always known the lyrics to.

I envision all these lives I’ve lived
and all these stories I’ve told
(even the ones I haven’t yet)
and wonder if I’m proud.

Progress is not a straight arrow
and success isn’t always the goal
but if acceptance was a tune I knew
I’d sing it off rooftops.

I spent my early adulthood always in flight:
exploring new neighbourhoods
drinking to get drunk
being reckless for the sake of it
I’m landing, I think, on solid ground
airplane’s strip
final stop

The air is clean and the money is good
maybe I’ve been home all along.

89

being around you is like touching sunlight
so inviting and clean
the glow just so
comfortable

there are days I feel like rain
wishing for clouds again
gloomy and angry and lost

I’m storming and you’re warming
everyone you meet
I heard once that when opposite temperatures collide they
create chaos
out of thin air alone

I hope my storm never overpowers your sun
I hope you radiate everyday and maybe soon I
will too

88

the sun never hid its light
because someone else
feared its brilliance

never dim your success
for the sake
of another person’s insecurity;
it’s not your responsibility
to make them feel
bigger than you.

87

spring cleaning
what am I meant to do
with all this love I have for you?
tucked away in scribbled journals
pressed old flowers
I know what clean looks like –
maybe that’s why
scrubbing you off my skin
feel so dirty.

This summer, I swear I’ll…

Dedicate time to be a better me!

As the weather gets warmer, I’m feeling productive. I’ve created a summer bucket list of things I’d like to accomplish by September to keep myself continuously improving, creating and being me, more often, and I wanted to share it with you all. Feel free to take it for your own!

  1. Write and compose a song (This one terrifies me because I know I can write lyrics but I’m not sure I can compose. Any advice, PLEASE sound off below!)
  2. Write for Medium
  3. Write for Globe and Mail
  4. Go swimming!
  5. Write for ten minutes about the Word Of The Day, everyday
  6. Buy a bike
  7. Go to two concerts
  8. Learn how to and bake macrons
  9. Go to Canada’s Wonderland (I haven’t been in years, and I LOVE roller coasters)
  10. Have three picnics (High Park, Toronto islands, Trinity Bellwoods)
  11. Go to a kickboxing class
  12. Save $4,000 (not including tuition)

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What are some things on your list? Do you have any advice for songwriting? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Love,
ELLE

86

I spent a lot of time trying
to fit into another skin tone –
dyeing my hair lighter
wearing muted clothing
pretending to dread the lunches my mother packed
that my friends always made fun of

Today, my jet-black hair requires no comb
I pack delicate, complex meals
speak three languages and
languish, knowing
what an honour it is
to just be asian.

Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! I’m dedicating a few poems to my family this May. Please feel free to share your stories in the comments below.

Love,
ELLE