I live behind reinforced walls
and a guard clad in armor of fear
for each door.
A fortress built from bricks of doubt and disappointment;
mortar mixed with the ashes from the pyre
on which I sacrificed myself
and remade myself
in the hopes that this incarnation
might be something someone could appreciate.
I grew in a garden of imperfection
in which I was the most imperfect;
no one ever said, "You aren't good enough."
But they did say,
"Boys don't like fat girls,
you'll never find a man if you don't lose weight."
I heard: "You are unlovable."
They said, "You'll never succeed
if you don't do your homework--"
nevermind that I had the highest grade in the class.
I heard: "You aren't good enough."
I burned those messages into my flesh
every time I looked at my reflection
and believed them.
Now, 30 years of rebirths later,
this incarnation still believes
she is unlovable,
and this incarnation still believes
she is a failure,
even when my child,
my precious baby girl,
takes my face in her hands and says
"Mama, you are perfect for me."
I will not build a pyre for my daughter
I will not encourage her to break herself
for any other person's satisfaction,
Because she is beautiful;
She is worthy;
She is loved and valued,
and she is perfect for me.