I’m lucky in a lot of ways, but one of the ones I think of most often is that, despite my lack of self-confidence and constant second-guessing of myself, my body has never really been part of that. I was a teenager once; I worried about how I looked, pursing my lips in mirrors and wondering if anybody would ever want to kiss them, but somewhere along the line I decided I was ugly and that was that, there was nothing to be done, and I would just have to carry on in spite of that.
A lot of my self-perception is wrapped up in feeling ownership over my own body. I don’t worry so much about whether I’m attractive to others anymore; I’m more concerned with whether I’m attractive to myself. I care more about how short hair feels, about how lipstick feels, about how a dress or heels or jeans or whatever else I care to cover my body in feels. Because I primarily work from home, I often see myself without makeup, all the little flaws in my skin, the red spot at the end of my nose, the prickly heat currently turning my fingers into an embarrassing bumpy mess.
That’s not to say I’m not ever self-conscious. I’m constantly self-conscious. But I’m making peace with my flaws little by little, embracing that red spot, my hobbit feet, my cowlicks.
Anyway, here’s a drabble.
n. the unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat, whose tenuous muscular throbbing feels less like a metronome than a nervous ditty your heart is tapping to itself, the kind that people compulsively hum or sing while walking in complete darkness, as if to casually remind the outside world, I’m here, I’m here, I’m here.
Julianne stares at herself in the mirror, eyes fixed to a thin line running down her cheek, where blood wells up, beads, and quivers, perched delicately before it falls. It’s not her first injury and certainly won’t be her last, but she imagines that the blood shakes with every beat of her heart, the steady thump, thump, thump threatening to make each drop spill.
She wipes it away with her thumb. It’s not good to show weakness before a fight. But she remembers the blood lurking just beneath the surface, streaming like a river beneath the thinness of her skin.