Why body image?
"Authentic storytelling is a radical act of love that can connect and heal our fractured world."
~ Austin Channing Brown, best-selling author, speaker, & producer.
One of my dreams is to become a writer in an anthology on cultural identity, belonging, & body image. Body image might seem out of place, so here's how it fits within my work.
On the Internet, this is one of the first results for my name: “Birthright” by Theresa Abalos - Department of English…
If you click on it, you find a raw version of a poem written in 2016 — a beginner's attempt to capture her struggle with body image, and her first time in the spotlight for it.
For some people, body image is a struggle locked within the past. For others, it's entirely foreign. They’ve never loathed their own bodies in a way that is immediate, persistent, and engulfing.
For me, this struggle has been lifelong.
For the many reasons why, and for the many paths I’ve embarked upon towards healing, there isn't enough space.
One of these paths is being vocal about this struggle. Another is poetry.
In poetry, the distance between me and "the speaker" frees me to voice what is too painful and personal to express in everyday life.
"Birthright" was my first poem about body image. From then, all throughout college, I wrote pages upon pages of poems on body image and belonging (not all of them worth reading).
I wrote them because I had to. As a poet, my creative inspiration plunged roots into the powerfully negative emotions within this struggle.
Although these poems emerged from a place of brokenness, words allowed me to write my way into a place of strength.
Even if I couldn't heal instantly, through words I could paint the image of my own healing so vividly, it was unmistakeable — practically inevitable.
Since graduating college, I’ve made it a project to dive into several of these poems, unpacking the small truths that sustained me as I wrote them.
To learn more about this project, and how to support this next phase of my journey as a writer, you can visit my Patreon.
Beyond writing, I used to be obsessed with getting a tattoo as an act expressive of this struggle — marking myself permanently with a sign of hope that in the afterlife, I will have a healed relationship with my body (but maybe that only made sense to my college-self).
I'm curious to hear from you — what is your experience, if any, with body image, whether in your life or in the lives of people you know?