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it is the middle of the day
and i am nude,
standing in my bedroom,
looking at the full length mirror in front of me
speechless for the first time in years.


it is my birthday.
and as a gift to myself,
i have decided to tell my reflection
that it is beautiful
and that i love it.


"you are beautiful and i love you"
seven simple words that need to be said.


but halfway through, i scoff.
'you are beautiful... huh.'
because i've noticed the width of my shoulders
and the kink of my hair
my chubby fingers on fat palms


and the paleness of my legs.
my breasts are too small
and my hips disappear because
i'm too busy hugging them
hiding them
wrapping myself around them to
forget that they are there and
in forgetting they are there,
i forget that they keep me standing tall.
i have no thigh gap


and i'm unconsciously sucking everything into place
pinching and twisting and pulling at the extra skin here
the extra weight there
the rolls that formed on my back behind my back
god knows when.


'you are beautiful'



the sarcasm is there
like the moles on my neck and
the tears in my eyes.


'and i love...'
but i cannot finish it.
how can i love someone determined to shame the only body she has ever had?
rejecting the shoulders that her mother passed down
strong from carrying tradition and
the kinked hair she took from her father
that curls into spirals after she's been in the ocean
and the hands that her grandfather gave her
that he used to build houses and tell stories
the pale skin that her grandmother submitted
and that she now protects more fiercely than she did her own.



how can i scoff at this body
with perfect breasts and perfect hips
and maybe i have no thigh gap
but that's because my thighs love each other so much that they never want to part.


stop hurting this body, i tell myself.
stop pinching and pulling
and critiquing and crushing
this amazing creation that can move like a dancer
with a collarbone you could strum
and a smile that sees the light of every day.


so i try it again.



"you are beautiful."
the love is there,
like the constellations on my neck and
like the flecks of green in my eyes.


"and i love you."
because i do.

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To my lovely hitrecorders - 


My dad was recently diagnosed with cancer. Our relationship has been, like so many others, a rollercoaster. But when he got me on the phone to tell me the news, all he could say were positive things and all I could tell him was how much I love him, regardless of our imperfect past and how absolutely terrified I was.


That next day I went to get some coffee, puffy-eyed and exhausted, and on my cup, my barista wrote: Amber, you are beautiful today. 


This made me think - kindness is important, not just in the face of tragedy or fear but every day to every one. 


So, this is my contribution to the 2014 challenge collab (since I'm terrible at completing conventional challenges)...


I'm challenging myself to say one special, kind thing to anyone who needs it. If you request it in the comments or heart  this record, I promise I will tell you something that will (hopefully) make you smile and that I perceive to be a truth. 


Here's the catch:


If you challenge me to this and I complete it, you need to pay it forward. Not to me, and no need to make a record, but find someone in our community and tell them something heartfelt and kind. That day, I honestly believe my barista (his name is Josh) prevented me from falling into a very dark place with something as simple as words. 


Maybe it's mushy and a little too sweet, but we never know who needs it. 


Kindness and love, again by heart,


Amber


--------------


4/14 Update:


To-Do and To-Done list!


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