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to reach an understanding
to reach an understanding

to reach an understanding


I feel bulky. Yeah, bulky⸻you know, bulky is a really good word⸻an accurate one.

I guess it comes hand in hand with being really tall.

Growing up, I never really had a chance to be cute and feminine and, you know, small; being larger than most boys, I was insecure about not being able to be as girly as all the girls. Sundresses and dance leotards just didn’t seem to fit me the same, pigtails and glittery bows just didn’t look right. Shoulders too wide, legs too big⸻I always felt like an ogre stuffed in a skirt wrapped too tight. I could never recreate what all my friends had: effortless femininity.

So as I got older, I kind of intentionally leaned away from a very feminine style, convincing myself that I hated it, that pink sucked, that dresses weren’t that cool anyway. Baggy jeans and shirts were the new thing. Sweaters that swallowed me whole could hide my chest and torso and legs and finally made me look small⸻I looked slightly less bulky. Unwieldy. Awkward.

I think I’ve mostly gotten over that phase now. I’m starting to enjoy baggy clothes for what they look like rather than what they hide. And I’m no longer on the pick-me, pink-is-gross hate train I think all female preteens go through at some point. And I appreciate people who can pull off the dresses, and puff sleeves and adorable cardigans⸻I find it admirable, even, in a society where feminine things are easily demonized.

For a while, I thought I was dressing for other people, to hide what I thought people would hate. But recently, I realized that I feel horrible when I look horrible⸻slowly over time, or maybe suddenly, who knows, dressing well was for me. I walked a bit taller, faster, with more purpose when I looked good. I talked louder, clearer, with intent when I looked good.

I had gained confidence in the oversized. Things have changed. I don’t hate my body for the way it looks.

I kind of hate my body for a whole different reason now.

The world is beautiful. But it is also a stranger to itself. A flower doesn’t understand the bee⸻the bee doesn’t understand the fox. The snow cannot know why the sky is blue the same way the sand cannot embrace the rain. You can lay down in the park, and just think about all the blades of grass underneath you who don’t comprehend why the sun has disappeared from the sky. You can go to the zoo⸻look at the lions, zebras and penguins⸻watch them watch the glass panels and not understand why they’re trapped, what the cage is doing there, the meaningless things behind it.

An immeasurable distance between everything⸻everything⸻the same way these letters are isolated from each other, the same distance between you and me⸻a paragraph apart.I can try to hug you, but only from afar⸻I can hold you close, but we’re a sky away.

The world is an alien to itself. We are stretched thin, infinities apart.

My reflection can be familiar and outlandish at the same time. I don’t shy away from it like I used to⸻I understand that I look the way I look and there’s not much I can do to change it.

But I still hate my body. It is a barrier. My mouth is a flap of meat and my limbs are just sticks and bones⸻my brain, it’s barred off from the rest of the world by a hard shell. Trapped. My body is alien to the rest of the world as much as the world is an alien to itself.

My body is a physical corporeal thing that is incapable of communicating⸻I can move and write and speak, but no one will ever be able to know what I’m talking about. I could spend days redundantly explaining my memories and beliefs and values; other people just won’t be able to feel what I feel. Understand the way I understand. Words and language are just noise and silly little scribbles at the end of the day. They are restrictive by pure existence. Other people cannot reach into my body and just know.

I want to be understood. I need to be understood. Not in the emo, teenager way like oh, I’m such a complex individual, the normies will never know, but in a panicky I can’t die without anyone knowing who I fully am! kind of way. In a hyperaware and helpless kind of way.

I hate my body because that’s as far as most people will ever know me as. The stranger I just crossed in the street, the toddler who was staring at me in the subway, all the people who know me only by name in my classes⸻I feel powerless when I meet their eyes. They can only see this facade, this tangible carapace; they’ll never be able to see all the beautiful things I’ve hidden away forever.

When I look at my reflection, all I honestly think is: Is this how people view me? All the time? Do they even know what I’m thinking about when they look at my face?

How do they see me without knowing me?

Maybe I’m obsessed with the idea of being seen.

Some part of me wants so desperately to be remembered, to mark others so they can carry me with them the same way I carry them. Just a small, diluted version of them perched on my shoulder, coddled up in my pockets, tugging on my hair. Purely made up but purely immortal. And they’re mischievous little creatures⸻they make you recall all the good moments, they make you laugh during the serious ones, they make you cry during the hard times. They’re little memories that live on forever.

I want to be remembered. All of me, a small piece of it⸻I want to be remembered like the sky.

But I can't be the sky, who’s seen the world.

The sky’s been there since the ancestors of my ancestors. The sky will be there after the descendants of my descendants. The sky has seen it all and will see all of it. It’s infinity, it’s eternality, is so immensely powerful⸻we can think of ourselves as gods amongst animals, but at the end of the day, we can’t beat the sky, the earth, the soil and rain. We can live, aspire and inspire, die, have a million things to do and care about, and the sky can only watch.

The sky is a pair of eyes. Not terrifying because they are all-seeing, but because they are indifferent.

But there’s nothing to be envious about. The sky will last forever, stretches on for forever, but it’s just space⸻the absence of a soul. It doesn’t understand; it is powerless. I guess that is what makes us gods⸻we have the capacity to fathom.

Author Notes: part 2 of my larger project called "spacing out"

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7 Jun, 2023
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