I keep repeating the phrase "I love my body", hoping it would eventually come true. I try to show love for every part of me that has only known hate all its life. But what good is it when you stand in front of the mirror, wanting to believe that you are beautiful, but the voices keep repeating, "You are ugly. You are ugly."
It isn't easy to remove these voices. These hurtful criticisms that keep pushing you towards a change that is often for the worse. Insatiable, these voices are. They stand around your coffin at your funeral and whisper into your ears, "You are a little too pale for a dead body."
These voices can crawl from anyone's lips. But it hurts the most when they crawl from the kind lips of your own family, friends, or partners.
What do you do when no amount of change is enough to satisfy them? What do you do when no amount of self-love is enough to seal their lips? When will your body ever feel beautiful, or at least feel enough?
On the opposite spectrum of the critical voices are the affirming phrases called compliments. These are the phrases that give you the support and the confidence to fight the critical voices.
With compliments, you get an epiphany, like noticing your loved one is pointing to the parts of you that people have always found ugly. Except now, you realise, he's pointing at them to tell you how adorable you look with them, and is leaning in to kiss you in those very parts.
This epiphany tells you that you two things: you were always beautiful and you've always been enough.
Compliment is the finger that boops your blunt nose to say it looks as cute as a button. Compliment is the mouth that bites yours so the scar may come from love to your fat lips, and not from hate to your faint heart. Compliment is the hand that caresses your hairy body not stopping once to tell you you must shave. Compliment is the eyes looking into yours surrounded by dark circles, not to point and hurt, but to gaze and flirt.
Compliment is the hand that squeezes your fat ass or your flat breasts to show you you are irresistible just the way you are. That little "I love your curls! How did you get them done?" from a friend not seen in a long time. Or "Your smile is so beautiful" coming from the person you just met. The little things. Words of kindness. Acts of love. These are the compliments that give you power to fight the critical voices.
You hear them more often, and soon, hate will become a corpse buried 6 feet deep. It might try to crawl out sometimes when the voices summon it. But the compliments give you the confidence and the courage to shove them further down.
Then you'll stand before the mirror, your vision cleared of all hate, and you'll see yourself the way you were meant to be seen, and not the way people taught you how.
And this time, when the voices creep in to tell you "You are ugly", you will remember the compliments of your loved ones, and the voices will drown out. You will now accept yourself without a second thought.
So starting this Women's day, well, starting right now, when the shallow, capitalistic, misogynistic world bombards us with advertisements, pictures, and criticisms to show us we need to keep changing, to tell us we will never be enough, let us take the opportunity to compliment each other.
Tell the people you love how much you admire their sense of fashion. Tell them how their cheeks are kissable, their presence irresistible, their hair gorgeous, their style divine, their tummy huggable, their huge thighs and ass sexy, they're flat breasts soft and squishy, their beards warm and fuzzy.
Your compliments give them the power to look the critical voices in their judgmental eyes and say, "Fuck Off, Thank You."