I'm not quite sure when I first realized this body didn't belong to me.
12 years old, just a child, running down the street,
I "recieved" my first catcall.
Middle school me, masked by insecuirty, appauled,
Confused by the meaning behind this "gift" given to me.
Now, everywhere I turn, still a child at 15,
My insecuirty masked by makeup that defines my beauty,
I'm faced with whistles and comments that "raise my self-esteem."
I walk into a store alone and assess the face of everyone who passes by,
Wonder if my shirt is cut too low, or my pants too tight,
Because when I wear something I like, I'm inviting guys to stare at my ***.
8th grade, I first discovered leggings,
Comfort classier than sweatpants but easier than jeans,
Barely 13, I turn around to "**** Alyssa, who knew you had a *****?"
Harassed daily in the halls by fist bumping boys who made no effort to hide the fact that I was the subject of their conversation.
But attention was attention,
I didn't know I was supposed to care my body was the only thing on display.
The year my best feature turned from my eyes, or my hair, or my smile,
To solely my body.
The year compliments were no longer for my new outfit, but instead my figure.
The year my leggings invited countless guys to add me on Snapchat just to start a conversation with,
"Your *** looked good today."
The world is a camera and I'm stuck in the frame,
Hopelessly on show for others to watch,
Wondering if I look alright,
Hoping I didn't blink.
Even now, I find myself turning around,
Making sure I look good in my jeans.
But this body doesn't belong to me,
I never look good just for me to see,
Because I was taught at age 12 that boys will be boys and only care about the outside.
Boys are supposed to look at my backside.
Recently I came to this realization and questioned why I was ever flattered by a comment on my body in a certain garment.
Why I readjusted push up bras and high waisted jeans to impress the boy in my dreams.
When I asked this question outloud, I was faced with "I can't help the fact you have a nice body."
"It's a compliment. If you don't like it, don't wear tight things."
But now I realize it's society.
Society is the monster that teaches young girls they are toys.
Society teaches ***, catcalls, and harassment to the boys.
I scroll through my Instagram feed, and posts show me that I am supposed to look nice.
For a man.
Because what's the point in wearing a bikini if a man doesn't see?
Standing in front of me in my mirror is a body marked by society.
Makeup that makes my skin and eyes pretty, society put that brush in my hand and taught me to paint.
Hair frying under heat,
Clothes that show my best features, according to society.
Now its 6:33 in the morning, I've been up for two hours, I'm blow drying my hair and wondering why the hell I care.
A body on show for everyone else to see,
This body doesn't belong to me.
Not sure how relatable this is to others, but this is a poem that I wrote with the intention to read as spoken word. I love it because it expresses my experiences thus far with the expectations set upon women's bodies. Please do share your opinions on the writing, I would love to hear what you think!