When we’re young, so thin ribs are ladder rungs, we long to gain flesh to ward off taunts and name-calling that shadows us even in our moments of private silence. We think joy will find us when our body starts to build flesh around our timid skeletal frame. We’re so used to beauty being awarded the muscular.
Our stout friends beg for less bouncing of hurtful words off their flesh. They long for spells and potions of the magic variety to ward off unkind judgemental glares. They feel life is made for the thin and the buff. They’re so used to being objects of the comical and hurtful.
What does body contentment look like exactly? When do we wake up to the beauty that lies in our very hearts, belly laughs, and diamond sparkle in our eyes? When do we wake up to the shapes that make the world wholesome and cheersome? Can beauty only come in muscle? Or can it slip out of lean jeans And moisturized bellies that carry sunshine into dark corners of unhappy rooms filled with insecure bodies.
I remember once, being a scrawny boy in high school, pimples freshly popped at every turn… Heart pounding and dying to be and not be noticed… Running towards magical diets… Crying for better thighs… Wishing for a man who would see beyond my skinny legs… I forgot about the charm in my smile, the kindness in my chest… And the wisdom in my brow…
Live, love, and remember that there’s a lid for every pot… That which you forget to notice in you is what will charm another. That which you want to perfect in you is what is already perfect for one who’ll love you unreservedly. Take your clothes off… Stare into your being in the mirror… You’re from love… Reach for it in you.
Written & published by Frank Malaba
Image by: Olenka Kotyk
Frank Malaba is an actor, playwright and a published poet. He was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and currently resides in Cape Town, South Africa. He has performed on stage and television in both countries. He has a passion for using poetry, storytelling and theatre as a method of healing for both himself and others. His poetry has been presented both at home and abroad. Frank is currently developing a two-man play entitled “Broken Pathways” which will be touring internationally. In 2014 Frank was recognised by Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans as an Achiever in the category of Arts & Culture. View all posts by Frank Malaba