how old were you when they told you that your body was a temple you weren’t allowed to let other people into? that your hallowed soul would somehow rot and grow mold if you let another human being’s breath caress the tops of your shoulders, the curve of your neck?

because i was seven. my father said, “your body is a gift, save it.” i am not an object. i am not an object.  

“it’s good to cover up.” no. i cover up mistakes, i cover up failures. i am not either one of these, and it has taken me years to train myself out of believing it. if i must lay eyes on every whitehair chest of lobster-red old men in their wrinkly skin and saggy swimsuit bottoms, you can handle my spaghetti straps, my dresses above the knee, my shorts, my v-neck tee. 

“what will people think?” well given that when i dress modestly i’m seen as a prude and a frigid bitch, i’m going to assume they’re thinking something insidious. the happy thing is: their thoughts don’t change my reality. i am not defined by them. you can’t tell me who i am. you don’t own this. you will never own this.

“leave something to the imagination.” your problem is the reality of my body, and i’m not sorry. you hate that you can’t imagine me flawless, no scars, no scabby shins, not a real human. in your head, you photoshop onto me large breasts that stay perky without a bra, hips without stretchmarks, a spine without freckles. but i am real, and these are all beautiful, and you should feel blessed you look upon them. 

“no man wants a woman like that.” that’s fine with me. i don’t want a man who judges me for showing off my body. in fact, some of us don’t want a man at all. sadly for you, i don’t dress to impress strangers. i dress because it’s summer, and i’m hot, and i don’t just mean the temperature. and for the record? when i do dress for my man in skimpy little booty shorts? he doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with or without it. he loves me for who i am and not the purpose i serve as an object.

and i am not an object. i am not an object. you don’t get to sum up my personality based on my clothing. you cannot hold a book and look at the cover and tell me the whole story. you cannot look at me and know anything. i am not just a book. i’m a nation of libraries.

i do not become unholy for a strapless dress. i do not lose myself for daring to wear a skirt with a slit up the leg. “ladies, your body is sacred, make sure you dress in clothing i personally find demure and satisfyingly modest” sounds a lot like you think you’re a god and only you can determine whether or not i'm worthy of eternal damnation. 

i got news for you, buddy.

i’m a goddess. i don’t ask for permission.

—  Let me dress for the weather without comment. I don’t care if you “don’t like the packaging.” I’m not a package, and even if I was, it’s not to your house I’ll be showing up. // r.i.d
One day you will wake up and everything, the stones by the driveway, the brick houses, each brick, each leaf of each tree, your own body, will be glowing from within, lit up, so bright you can hardly look. You will reach out in any direction and you will touch the light itself. After that there are no more instructions because there is no more choice. You see. You see.
—  Margaret Atwood, from Murder In The Dark

You,

I can remember kissing your lips still. I can remember how you used to say my name so softly, so fragile. As if I were a ghost. I guess for most of our relationship I was a ghost. I was never fully there. That is until you would kiss me and you would bring me back down to you. You’d start at my lips, then move to my neck. And your hands. Your hands would be in places my mom would have screamed at you for. And I wasn’t a ghost anymore, not for awhile at least. I was yours and you were mine. But now you’re gone and I’m a ghost again. A ghost of your past. A ghost you wish you could erase.

—  From
Your Ghost
I’m not attracted to you, ” she says. He shrugs and he grins and hopes his heart doesn’t show between his toes. “That’s okay. I was never attracted to you either. ” She shrugs right back, they turn away, two lovers lost in disarray. Then he moves without sound. Without thought, he turns around. He grabs her hair, he pulls hard. She gasps and throws her head back and her eyes flutter closed. His lips move to her neck but all he does is whisper, “You’re so completely full of shit, ” and lets her hair go in disgust. She composes herself as best she can, and she shrugs and she grins with pink in her cheeks and she says, “But so are you. ” And they take one last look before they shrug and turn away, two lovers lost in disarray.
you think that I am on the mountains, tending to ‘far greater things’ but I am within you. I am cheering you on and holding your hand. I am kissing your cheek and helping you stand. I am always for you while consistently standing right beside you. you are Mine and I am yours. I love you, I love you, I love you- more than you will ever know. My life was given up so that you might be free. I endured the cross so that you might experience eternal life and unending grace. you are never too 'small’ for Me. your problems are never too 'little’ for My concern. you are My child, you are My love, and I, am always yours.
—  mel // a letter from your Father. 
2

Unlike most of the writers covering the Duggar sex scandal, I was raised in Advanced Training Institute (ATI), the fundamentalist Christian organization with which the family is affiliated. Joshua Duggar’s confession of sexually molesting young girls in his family’s home when he was a teenager didn’t surprise me, nor should it surprise anyone with any intimate knowledge about this organization, because ATI’s theological beliefs and practices cultivate an environment where women and children are more vulnerable to rape and sexual abuse. Ironically, the same theological beliefs and practices at the heart of this scandal are the same beliefs that created the Duggars as a media phenomenon, and drew viewers and fans to their TLC show “19 Kids and Counting.”

Like a real-life Kimmy Schmidt, I fled the exploitative and abusive sect into a culture I couldn’t fully understand

Tonight my dream was to brush my teeth in your bathroom sink. To put your toothpaste on my brush and put it in my mouth. I want to crawl between the same sheets you’ve slept on for the past six months and lay my head on the pillow that’s seen ten different countries with you. I will breathe in all their air and maybe feel like I was there with you. I want to wrap myself up in the blankets you have laid in and mostly, I want to open my eyes and see you. I want to see you seeing me and I want it all open and I want it all on your face. I don’t want darkness and I don’t want corners. I want to look at you and see it. I want you to touch me with shaking hands so I can feel it. Feel it just there, in the space behind my rib cage. Feel you in my blood and in my veins and in the thing that’s keeping me alive. There is a spot on the chest that if you hit it hard enough, it will rupture the heart. Your name is there and I want you to see it. I want to say, here I am, here is everything, now curl your fist and take it all because it was always yours.
—  daydreams. (via brizzlewritesthings)
1. 2am is the only one who could keep all your secrets.
2. You’ll learn to live with the sadness.
3. Sometimes it’ll feel like things won’t get easier. They do if you let them.
4. Not all of your burned bridges would make you feel better in the end.
5. Don’t ask yourself to try harder. Thank yourself that at least you tried.
6. You’re allowed to make mistakes.
7. Don’t ask too much from yourself to be strong all the time. You’re allowed to be weak, too.
8. If they make you feel alone even when you’re with them, they’re not really your friends.
9. Those moments of solitude would help you get through it all, I promise.
10. Don’t be ashamed of the things you love, even if it’s deemed “uncool.”
11. Learn limitations. Listen to criticisms so you can work on being better, but not too much that it’ll trample over your self worth. Take joy in the things that you do, but not so much that you’d no longer have time for work. Be kind, but don’t be a pushover. Use your voice, but know when to pick your battles. Find balance.
12. Try not to expect too much from people.
13. Keep writing.
14. Your happiness doesn’t rely on you going after your dreams and goals. Happiness is simple. You can find it when you’re amidst books, watching your favorite film, being with the best people.
15.  Love is not just between two people who share a bond. It is many different things. Love is waiting for sunsets by the beach and taking the indigo and orange hues in. Love is hugging your dog each morning. Love is the first cup of coffee for the day. Love is knowing some people stayed. Believe in love.
16. Be kinder to yourself. You are a working progress.
17. The truth is that no one really knows what they’re doing in life. You are not alone. You are doing fine.
18. Not everyone will always understand. Don’t blame them.
19. It makes a lot of difference when someone sees you as the person you wish to be.
20. You’ll have friends whom you can call in the middle of the night when you need them, friends who’d meet with you and go on long walks in the night talking about existential crisis, mean people, and your next steps. On days when you feel like you need somebody, you don’t have to be alone.
21. Learn to finish what you’ve started.
22. Don’t be afraid to make decisions in life that isn’t the same as everyone else’s.
23. You’re going to be alright.
—  23 Things I Want To Tell 13-Year Old Self // Cariza O
Do you know how hard it was going to bed knowing that no one knows you are changing, that tonight you are dying and tomorrow a new person is born? Do you know how horrible it was to see that no one recognized the difference because no one really knew who you are? Do you know how scary it was not knowing who is the person you’ll wake up to become every new morning?