She was the kind of girl who took pictures of parts of herself. Her eyes. Her lips. The curve where her neck met her shoulder. She obsessed about all of these tiny shards of herself, finding perfection in only three square inches at a time, and hated everything else. If she could have, she would have cut those parts of herself, those perfect parts, all off the rest of her horrible body, and pieced herself back together, I think she would have. So what if she ended up looking a bit like a Picasso come to life? She would display only those perfect bits of herself, because she could not imagine that the whole of herself was something worth loving. Too fat. Too pale. Too blemished. An errant hair here, a pimple there, a scar here, a bruise there. Flaws she never noticed on anyone else, but were obviously so glaring on her own body that she might as well immolate herself rather than be seen as a whole being in public.
She took these pictures, these cutouts, and plastered them all over the world, spewing words out, desperate for people to read them, wanting to connect with someone, with anyone. Hoping for someone to read them and say “I understand. This is me. This is what I have been trying to say my whole life, too. I understand you, and you understand me.”
Because then, maybe, somehow, that person would be able, would be strong enough, to see her for the whole creature she was, instead of just her fingertips, just her hair, just her apple cheeks.
Maybe they could teach her to navigate the murky waters of loving one’s self, curl their hand in hers and whisper that it would be okay, that she was not alone.
She won’t listen to me, but if I could put my hand in hers, if she would let me, I would let her know she doesn’t have to love herself in only 3 inches at a time — that I love her, that I have loved her since the moment I saw her, and I will love her forever — that she’ll never be alone again.