Perhaps the most important love letter I can ever write. To me.

One that will undoubtedly be written and rewritten many times over the course of my life – and right now, I am the person I love most (as it always should be).

Before I get into the lovey-dovey, I have a little something to talk about.

The female body is hyper-sexualised, yet it shouldn’t be sexualised at all. This is just skin. Why aren’t my breasts allowed? What’s the difference between my nipples and the man who lives next door who proudly walks around the neighbourhood topless? At what age is a part of my body seen as ‘inappropriate’? As ‘sexy’? As ‘should be covered up’? 3? 7? 12?

Why do I have to conform to your box of beauty, of sexy… Of ‘girl’?

I watched a short video on Instagram of an NY artist asking ‘why the fuck do I see people so often being like “yeah, she’s somebody’s sister, she’s somebody’s wife, she’s somebody’s mother”. Is the only way that I can get sympathy is if I’m somebody’s?’ Why is this the main way for people to sympathise with women after any disgusting act upon them or their bodies? We are all humans. Why are men only able to connect to us if they can relate us to them? And unfortunately this is a case of ‘us’ and ‘them’.

Despite my constant anger, I have found peace in myself over the last few months. So I’ll take this time to write an ode to me. To my body.

I thank my body for all that it can do. I love the hair – all natural. I love that I let them grow, being a lady in my pure form. It’s my choice. I love that I make that choice, and I love that my sisters around me make a choice with what to do (or not to do) with their hair. I love that my body can carry me up mountains and move me in the ocean. There are no animal products in you – only plants.

I love you for making me listen when things aren’t going to plan. Gut instinct, studying too hard, eating a dodgy curry. You always pull me up and tell me to rest. I love that you are a vessel of Mother Earth and love. I love how open you are.

I love how you love. How you cry – freely, wildly. I love the marks and lines and scars that show growth and nourishment and time in the sun and clumsiness. I love how you’re still getting used to the long limbs you have and that you sometimes (often) fall – constantly drawn to the earth. Grounded. I love your mind and your words and how you think and appreciate.

I love your eyes, they come from your favourite aunty and they make you look like your cousin in Scotland. I love your crows-feet, your one distinct dimple and your freckle-splattered cheeks.

I love that you bleed and have your own schedule. You run on your own time, no where to be or rush to, never really following the moon or the ocean, yet you bow and bend to your sisters and sync up.

I love the connection you have with all your sisters. I love your connection to Gods, to music, to the dirt in your backyard, to Mother India. I love that you look after me and carry me through bliss and heartache and grow and allow me to learn and change and draw and write and cook and cry and smile.

I won’t hate you; only appreciate you from here on in.

I’ve done my time feeling trapped in the skin I’m in, apologising for taking up too much space, grabbing my fleshy hips; willing them to shrink. Willing myself to shrink. I’ve felt uncomfortable while being grabbed, yet blamed myself because ‘I’m supposed to be sexy, I’m supposed to be grabbed, I’m supposed to want this’. It’s taken me an awfully long time to realise that I don’t have to be ANYTHING that I don’t want to be. So here I am. In love with me.

PS – I love you, too. Thanks for getting this far, and I hope you find peace and fall in love with every cell and inch of skin that makes you up to be you. I am so grateful. Thank you.

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