94

Careful perseverance
in pursuit of more
and more.

I once was comfortable
in the everyday monotony of
succeeding
but lately there’s a flame in me
to burn brighter than I’m used to
to fall asleep because of exhaustion
not inertia

These dreams of becoming
all I can be
sometimes keep me up at night.

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93

these snapshots in time
of being a child but swearing
that you’re not one.

I can feel the gravel under my feet
as we snuck out of the cottage
and ran to the beach, barefoot
the air was heavy, humid
I was young, wild

I can’t imagine the fear the adults felt
when they checked on our beds and we
weren’t there
but I can imagine the way the summer
breezed through my hair
like pages of a book in the wind
the moon parallel to the crown of my head
the ocean crashing at my feet
and the cellphone I didn’t own yet.

I swear I can still smell the salt on my skin some nights
just before I fall asleep
until a notification buzzes
and it’s back to work.

92

There’s a carousel of people I know
nestled into my phone feed
that are having kids, buying homes
doing everything right and
looking good doing it

There are nights I stay up late
and imagine all the things I’ve done wrong
and how I could’ve grasped perfection
plucked it off the tree
if I had tried hard enough.

By morning, I’m forgiving myself
heading to the market and seeking
only the best fruit
I’m digging my fingernails into the flesh
making sure the peach is sweet
I’m poking and prodding and
making sure there’s not a single bruise
that I end up creating one anyway.

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

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.