She stepped in front of the mirror, her body tingling with excitement as she felt her mind whisper words of appreciation to her body. A smile graced her lips as she watched her reflection. The now coppery brown eyes staring back in shyness, the blush dusting her olive skin, the tiger stripes making a home for themselves on her hips and stomach. Her heart beat steadily to the music of contentment. She caressed the arms she had once slashed, the dark inner thighs, and the beauty mark on her knee she discovered at the age of 5. The sunlight kissed the skin she once hated and spread warmth to places people could never reach. She brought a hand to her chest and felt the curve of her breast, the heart that beat inside, the fire she almost diminished. She thought maybe this is what true love felt like. To find adoration staring back at you. To feel valued. To feel soft even after seeing the roughness of the past. To see beauty in yourself, despite all the cuts and bruises to your once bleeding soul. Maybe true love is the way she laughed without a care in the world. Maybe true love is kissing your own scars and reassuring yourself that it’ll all be okay in the end. Maybe it’s about cherishing the you in this moment, the you in the last moment, and the you in the next moment. She licked her pink lips.
For the first time she looked at her body and began to speak the words she waited for someone else to say,
“You are all the I love you’s shared between your parents. You are every caress of your father’s hands and every lullaby your mother sang. You are his present, her future, their past. You are everything I’ve loved in a person and yet everything I’ve abused. You are the happiness, loss, and the love that you felt when your heart was broken. Your words are honey dripping into existence. Your mind is the galaxy they couldn’t explore and your heart is the depth of the ocean they couldn’t reach. Your laugh is the music everyone is searching for and the first time I ever felt love was when I looked into your eyes. I’m so sorry for all the times I broke your heart and ignored you. I’m so sorry for all the times I’ve promised you love and gave you hatred. I’m so sorry for all the abuse, the damage, the pain, the loss.”
Tears threatened to spill with colorless emotion as she wrapped her arms around herself.
With a smile, she continued, “I love you. You are all the love I’ve never felt and every apology I didn’t whisper. You’ve felt every tear that ripped through me and every burn to my pride. You were there when he left and when they broke your heart. Thank you.”