Hi, beauty. It's me.
You don't know me. I'm almost thirty years away but I can see you, clearly, sitting there with your salted red cheeks, hating the way your twelve, thirteen, fourteen-year-old thighs spread out over the bed. I watch you punch the soft flesh of your hips when you're locked in the bathroom alone, angry and heart-broken at how they swell below your waist. I watch your breasts bounce and other children make fun. And the way you drag your fingernails down the sides of your face, as if to pull it off you? As if to set the thin, gorgeous, and radiant creature inside you free? When you press the hurt from unkind words into paper, tears spilling, lines blurred, I'm there, weeping over your shoulder.
The years fly by and I watch them all, along with your undaunted hope that one day, one day you will have the beauty and body you crave. Until then, you punish yourself. You heap hatred, disgust, and despair on your curves and they expand to make room for it all.
What if you were to know then that twenty-five years later, your body would still be full and curvy and soft?
It's October now. You always loved the way a brisk, apple-scented wind swooped in to waft the sticky heat of a southern summer right on into next year. October meant relief. You'd sit in the honey-golden sun and gulp deep breaths of pine-laden air, practically in tears for how alive you felt. You would go for long, day-dreamy walks in the woods, your breath lingering like poetry in the morning chill. When the leaves fell, swirling splashes of russet orange, garnet, and yellow, you danced right through them while laughter had her way with you.
Autumn loved you. Autumn loved you when you couldn't love yourself.
I want you to feel me, honey. Beside you. Within you. Wrapping my squishy-soft warm arms around you. We almost didn't make it, you and I. The heaviness got too much at times because hatred is a load no one is meant to bear. But it's a new season now, for both of us. We've got stories to tell and we have our radiant, healing work. Let's kneel tenderly and begin the sacred task of mending the roots that expose themselves to our gentle, prayer-full hands. You and me, we have hope to hope, beauty to find, a heart to heal. Let's lean into love. Let's scatter our seeds of tears and faith. Let's take a deep breath, together. Let's begin again.
NEW! Irregular copies—$7
I received a shipment of my books that were printed incorrectly. They are still readable, but interior photos may have lines and the covers are misaligned and poorly trimmed. I am selling these irregular copies for $7 plus shipping. They will arrive marked “not for resale.” (Regular versions are available on Amazon.com for $17.)