A Letter to My Body – Warped Canvas

by Phoenix Wilks (they/them/theirs)

You got a new coat of paint today. A new art piece to distract from what you are. If the artwork is beautiful maybe no one will notice that you are warped. Maybe I won’t. And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with the shape of you, in many ways you are to be praised. You are warped in the right places. Out and in and out. Many would say you are beautiful.

But I wish time had not warped you.

I wish you had never changed and that I could just be up and down. Flat. It will cost me more money than I could ever afford to reverse the warping. And more time than I feel like I have with you.

47 months.

I don’t want to know how many years that is. I could do the maths easily but I don’t want to know. I do not want to know how long it is before anyone with any power to change will look at you and even consider acknowledging that the way you warped was wrong for me. That it hurt me.

So I will make you a piece of art. A place to collect things I think are beautiful. Relationships that mean the most to me and reminders of what life is to be. I will draw my eyes to the ink. And not to the curve.

a photograph taken just after a tattoo, the area is very red and the tattoo shows a line of the solar system down their sternum, their shirt is taped open around it.
Sternum solar system – your latest artwork.

My latest addition is my most blatant attempt to make myself feel okay with you. To take a place that makes me want to get creative with some scissors into something I am not afraid to look at.

I hope that it will make it easier to look at you soon. So far today you have been perceived far too much for my liking. 2 hours on a table while a stranger paints you, trying to figure out if the rings of Saturn are too wide to sit between your boobs.

I am writing this half-naked, letting you breathe. This art was the hardest one I’ve had. In so many ways. The physical pain. And the mental block of you. Resisting the urge to cover you. And now you will pain me for the next two weeks. I don’t know if I will sleep tonight, the weight of you sat on top of me, aching where the planets are drawn.

They are so beautiful. And they are making you more beautiful too.

It is a difficult relationship we have, you and I. I was always supposed to rely on you but I never could.

You betrayed me when I was 8 and you ached like you were on fire when all you were doing was growing. You betrayed me when I was 14 and I started bleeding. You betrayed me when I was 15 and you tore into shreds. But not so that anyone could see.

You have always betrayed me with quiet, private pains, just for you and I. It’s like some sick and twisted relationship that I cannot escape. And no one hears what you are doing to me. And if they hear they do not understand. Because you are mine and I am yours and we are unique. Together hand in hand, dragging one another to places we do not wish to set foot.

You betrayed me when you warped.

It’s like you like seeing me hurt.

It’s like you enjoy it when people see you and not me. They see woman and not me.

Please let them stop seeing woman.


About the Author:

Phoenix is a third-year undergraduate student in the department of Sociology at the University of Warwick. They are particularly interested in sex and relationships education in schools. They are also interested in inclusivity and diversity within teaching topics, particularly as this can help foster a greater understanding of the sexual and gender diverse. As part of queer/disrupt they manage the social media and help put out content for the group.


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