Body/Her/An Ode to All of You

A girl in a flowy summer dress dances under a tree.
Free by Danielle Deculus forBody/Her/An Ode to All of You by Tatum Zola


Telling the story of my life
The scars are the mementos of my journey
The ones created during battle
And the ones created out of fear
My hairs are the words on each page
A single strand gives insight
To my story
And the words
There is an abundance of them
And they won’t be removed
Because a book without words is meaningless
My body is an open book


When I talk down to myself,
Feel bad about myself
Feel ashamed about my body
My crooked smile, my eccentric personality
When I hate myself,
I am hating her
The girl who wore the same thing every day
Because she couldn’t care less
The girl who couldn’t tie her shoes
Who would trip over words
And remain grounded nonetheless
The girl who took pride in her creations
Who told people she loved them
The girl who sang like a sparrow
And danced like a jester
I am hating the child inside of me
The girl I wish to be every day
I have so much to learn from her
I cannot stomp on her legacy
Not like this

An Ode to All of You

I have decided to love my body
Not for me
But for the lineage of women
Who have methodically excavated the body I take for granted each day
For my mother
Who exceeded everyone’s expectations
And went to college
Got married
Lived a fulfilling life
For my grandmother
With the voice of an angel
Whose wrinkles reflect the stories of her past
Each one different
Each one unique
For my mimi
The mother of my mother
Who went through the death of her mother
Only to continue living through it all
For my great-grandmothers
Who lived well past the age of one hundred
To see their great-grandchildren grow up
Surviving through decades of pandemics
For the women of my family who survived the Holocaust
And for those who didn’t
Whose memories were lost amidst the chaos of war
For the women who immigrated to America
To build better futures for themselves and their families
I love my body because it is a representation of the women before me
Their hopes, dreams, fears, legacies
And I will never take it for granted

Writer’s Statement: The three poems I have written are “Her”, “Body” and “An Ode to All of You”, all of which represent the ways young women like me struggle with and overcome body insecurities. In this day and age, it is easy to fall prey to unrealistic body standards depicted on the internet and social media, especially for younger women. I created these poems to remind myself and others of the strength and beauty we all have within.
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