Deeper Than Skin

Deeper Than Skin

I looked in the mirror this morning
And the mirror looked back at me
She said

Look at the state of you
What have you done to yourself
You’ve really let yourself go
And nowhere pretty
If you go out
Looking like that
Everyone will see
What you try
To hide inside
You’re greedy
And lazy
And worthless

I heard the mirror
My old foe
And I hung my head

She and her fellow bully
Accidental shop window glance
Never seem to miss the chance
To cut me
With their judgment
And wound me
With their burrowing words

I’ve heard it all before, of course
Her words are as old as my thoughts

In childhood
She silenced me
In my teens
She starved me
In motherhood
She shamed me
And in my middle ages
She still collects her wages
With the same old words

If you had
Bigger eyes
Smaller thighs
Plumper lips
Slimmer hips
Straighter hair
(But no hair there)
And no pimples or wrinkles or freckles or dimples
You’d be

And it’s hard to cultivate
A well-adjusted mental state
When mannequins all wear size eight
And congratulations validate
Weight loss
As a win
Look at you
You’re so thin
Well done

And it’s hard to ignore
To disregard or pacify
When everyday I feel
As if my body is my enemy
A fully separate entity
Existing as a cell
Around the real me
And I’m weak
And I’m tired
And I’m trapped

If I listen
Stop all the chatter and
Really listen
I hear a different voice
So much dearer
“Child, my child
Come closer, draw nearer.

These are my words…
I know you
I’ve searched you
I know you in your resting
I know you in your bustling
Before you speak
I know your words
I even know
The quietness
And the unquietness
Of your thoughts
I know you

These are my words…
I’m here
I’m with you
All around you
My guiding hand
Grounds you
And even when you turn away
And squirrel in the dark
I’m still holding you
I’m here

These are my words…
I made you
You are my creation
I knit you together
Carefully, beautifully,
Fearfully, wonderfully,
With just the right strands
To make you
You are my creation
I made you

These are my words
I am the Lord
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
The Holy One
The Creator God
I created you
In my image
I created you
Not as a collection
Of lumps and bumps
And gristly bits
Wrapped around your self
I created you whole
In my image
I am the Lord.”

I looked in the mirror this morning
And the mirror looked back at me
I heard her words
Her barbs, her lies
I hung my head
I closed my eyes

Then I stopped

I stopped

I bowed my head
And I listened to Him
I listened
And His words
Deeper than skin

Originally published on The Fuelcast, 30 January 2023