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Personal Reflections on Sexual Assault at Wheaton: Part V

This submission comes from a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous.

Don’t Tell Me I’m Beautiful

“Don’t you look beautiful today.”

My stomach curdles and I feel nauseous.

I want to run and hide and curl up in a fetal position until he can’t see me anymore.

I fight to remind myself that he’s wrong.

I identify the lie that creeps up as I feel his eyes crawl over me.

I want to scream, I want to cry, I want to blink three times and find myself anywhere but here.

 

“You look beautiful today.”

But was I beautiful then?

After the first time, I mean.

When I called crying and told him no, I didn’t want that to happen again.

When he nodded through the phone like he understood and said he was sorry and promised.     

And I believed him.

 

“You look beautiful today.”    

Did you hear a rooster crow?

Beauty makes me sick and I am done with it.

The “male gaze” hurts too much, and I won’t try to cover that up.

Beauty wasn’t the problem. It was never the goal.

It wasn’t out of my reach and definitely never out of his so

don’t

tell me

I am

beautiful.

 

Tell me I’m strong

when I feel weak

can’t get out of bed

and my legs won’t carry enough weight to let me stand up on my own.

Tell me I’m brave

in the sleepless nights

through the flashback fears

and all the tears I’ve cried.

Tell me I’m whole

that my parts may not be perfectly aligned

but they’re all together

and not a single one is missing.

Tell me I’m mending – not broken – not healing.

Because I’m not sick, and you can’t prescribe a medicine for what happened to me.

I’m not broken – he didn’t win, and no “he” can put me back together again.

Tell me I’m loved.

Deeply

for who I am

not what you’ll make me do for you.

Tell me I’m safe. Here. with you.

 

But really

tell me I’m funny and honest and cherished and lovely and talented and anything

everything. except. beautiful.

because I’m still trying to convince myself that my body does not has not and will not ever belong to you.

 

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