5'7'', 176 LBS (170 CM, 80 KG)

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5'7'', 176 LBS (170 CM, 80 KG)

it’s six-seventeen in the morning
and the water is just getting hot again
(my mother wakes up at ungodly hours)
and as i wait to turn on the shower,
i catch my own reflection
looking back at me.

and i take this time to look in,
instead of merely glancing.
light azure cotton assures me i’m in shape
before i remove it over my hair
looking like a bird’s nest
combined with everest.
i drop the shirt to the tile
and run my hands over my torso
north, flowing like the nile river.
my brown skin doesn’t move against the traction
and i suppose that means it’s tight to the muscle
or the bone, or whatever it is
(i was never good with science or
biology or really physical education.).

but my eyes run over my hair,
my own eyebrows, expressive
as they rise and fall. move and contort,
they're the main reason
that i've never been able to hide
how i feel. 
or appear sad when i'm merely thinking.

ears not all that wide as i see them,
not quite tight to my head
but not spread either.
they're a bit on the small side
with ear lobes,
and i'm okay with that.

i then look into my own eyes.
my dark chocolate orbs look happy--
they have been since july.
rich and warm like southern summers.
i smile at the thought, looking at my teeth.
they brace themselves against each other
smoothly and i thank my orthodontist silently.
i don’t gloss over my nose for very long
because i don’t think of it much.
despite it being a big feature for some
and i don’t mean that literally.
my eyes shoot north again,
finding another mole
or rather, rediscover it.
i realized i had it when i was 5
and always tried to rid myself of it
until i figured it was here to stay.
i run my ring, middle and index of my left
over the ink-esque dot
that rests near my hairline
and parallel to the end
of my left eyebrow.
i like it now.
something about it,
moles add character
or so i feel.
i look at the little scars
or indentations that start
at the corner of my mouth,
stops near my cheek,
and begins at the end of the bone,
right in the middle of it.
it is only prominent
when you’re up close
and no one’s breath has ever
entered my nose like that.
(i guess that makes me lonely.)
i look at my lips and they’re dry.
but they’re not very thin
or very thick,
my mouth not very narrow
or very wide,
i like my mouth and lips.
they look nice.
i then see my neck and see the holes
that remind me of how close i was
to ending up in the kind that represented death.
premature birth at that point around 40%-50%
and complications could arise like acne
on prepubescent children.
i thank god for only ear infections,
allergies and hearing problems.
i still occasionally hear ringing in my ears
and it’s only really obvious
during a few songs.
it’s odd, but hey, so is living this long
after being born so early
without at least a semblance of issues.
my eyes fall down towards my shoulders,
thinking of the one time my dad said they were broad
and i was surprised at that. i didn’t believe him
because i suppose i never noticed
and he asked if i looked in the mirror often,
“i suppose i didn’t..”
and ever since, my eyes roll over my shoulders
from left to right,
right to left, and they look okay.
strong enough at the very least.
strong enough, at worst.
then roll over my arms
as i spread my arms wide
and my wingspan
nearly touches both edges
of the spacious mirror.
far from bony, not really fat,
i flex for a moment
before consciously putting my arms down.
flexing looks so foolish,
but i bring them up again and repeat,
looking at the muscle wanting badly
to be obvious.
it’s visible, but not apparent.
same with how i’ve held the weight
of my family starting from 5 to 11.
my strength obvious then,
holding my baby sister
and clutching my mother.
we all grew stronger together.
next my arms reach forward
as if i’m pushing through the wind
analyzing my hands,
the things that hold my pillow
to my chest as i imagine it’s her.
the things that hold the pencil
that pens creation.
my hands are one of my favorite things.
because they hold love
and formation.
my eyes now move from my arms
as they fall back to my sides,
looking at my chest,
where my heart rests.
and more scars or marks appear
from the surgery,
tubes were placed in my skin like a sewing needle
stitching oxygen and steroids
into a baby that could fit in the palm
of his mother’s hand.
it’s rather prominent,
at least relative to the mark on my cheek.
i run my fingers over the raised texture,
feeling almost like an abrasion.
i like to think it’s the place
where survival calls home.
next is my stomach
and this would probably
be better with sit-ups
but hey, at least i don’t have a gut.
my skinny is different because of genes
and no, that isn’t being funny,
my skinny was never quite so lanky,
which is why i’ve never been wiry.
thin from the contour
but wide from the front draft.
i turn to look at the profile,
running my eyes and hands over my sides,
love handling them with stretch marks
as they start near
the middle of my torso on the side,
the external oblique
and fall to my hip bones.
marks stretch
over and line my skin,
marking time on a line
from boy to near-man.
i spend a bit more time,
running my hands over
the skin just getting a feel
of physical growth.
i love my stretch marks to be honest.
vision then kisses my hips
as i remove my pants.
underwear going with it
as i rub my palms against them,
people don’t realize
how important these things really are.
my hips don’t tell the truth nor lie,
they just are. and i’m okay with that.
standing nude,
eyes then drop to birth
and i thank the sky
i understand that it’s not all about
dipping it in the soil.
nor should it be a concern
about how big my earth is.
i then peer at my thick thighs,
13 years of soccer strengthening these muscles,
the source of why i’m stronger
than i appear.
i think my mom takes my appearance for granted,
yes i am thin enough,
but i am no child,
not in that way anymore.
my strength rivals my father’s
whether she see that
and whatever he wants to admit it.
my thighs are big
compared to the rest of me.
same with my behind
as i look at the profile.
i laugh at the things people have said,
i understand what it is to be objectified.
it’s quite odd
and something i’d rather not experience again
because i don’t want to hear
how i have a woman’s bottom.
i laugh at the thought
and rub my eyes.
i don’t ever spend this long
looking in the mirror,
i just normally look at it, to be honest.
next are my knees,
and another mole appears
near the edge of my right kneecap.
i smile, reminiscing how i discovered it.
i was walking with my grandmother
at the age of six, and scraped it.
i thought it was a scar since i wasn’t bleeding
but after that first one,
never bother to get rid of this.
my knees bend and
hold the flex.
i remember my dad being
bedridden for what seemed to be no end
because of his torn acl.
he always taught me to strengthen my knees
but even then, we know if they go out
there’s nothing we can do about it.
then they fall on my calves,
tight and strong,
playing soccer for so long
has really made my legs look okay.
and i know some people
that obsess over their calves,
so that’s pretty cool, i guess.
that mine look good to my eye,
not that some people obsess over it.
my ankles are next
and i don’t think of these much,
besides the fact i’m just glad i never twisted it
or broke it during sports.
my dad knows i’ve taken plenty a cheap shot.
finally, my feet.
when i was a little boy,
after every shower,
my mom rubbed cocoa butter
over me and i always remember
the feet the most vividly.
it was always the funniest part
as her hands tickled my soles.
from feet like tiny puppy paws,
with no arches,
they have grown into a size nine
(and a half).
they hold me up,
keep me from falling,
and remind my father
of when he was a teenager.
my body is a book
that only a few have read
and it is a secret
that i don’t mind telling.
at least, on this occasion.

© 2014 - 2021 chromeantennae
anonymous's avatar
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Silidons00's avatar
I am a slow reader.
But I am glad that I finally got to this.
Well written

perhaps i shall do my own someday :P
chromeantennae's avatar
thank you. :heart:

i hope you do! :)
wispy-blue's avatar
truly inspiring me to write my own - that is, if i could be this brave and honest. :+fav:
chromeantennae's avatar
i'm so honored, thank you so much <3
StarlightComet's avatar
What the hell. I thought I added this to my favorites a long time ago and yet it's telling me I didn't...

*smashes keyboard and flings pillow across the room* :iconwtfboomplz:


*calmly goes to favorite it*
chromeantennae's avatar
:lmao: You are hilariously adorable. :XD:
StarlightComet's avatar
Only when I'm frustrated :XD:
jungle-slang's avatar
your poetry is amazing
chromeantennae's avatar
:blush: You are too much! :love:
fernknits's avatar
I have been avoiding reading this poem for DAYS because the idea of thinking about size, shape, weight and body image makes me crazy.  But the more you post, the more I think it might be good for me to at least face a part of the whole shebang.  I'm going to keep thinking about it and see what I can tolerate.  I hope you'll be hearing more from me about it, soon.  Your honesty astounds me.
chromeantennae's avatar
:heart: I don't know how on Earth I missed this comment at all because I completely understand and appreciate that. Thank you so much, Jennifer. :heart:

And I sincerely apologize for this late response 'cause I have no idea how I missed this! :faint:
totiltwithwindmills's avatar
I don't how to express how this poem touched me. I feel like the words won't let me put them in a way that expresses it clear enough, but I'll try to give some of what I'm thinking:

You describe yourself so well, so vividly, that I can visualize you. But even more than the physical, I can view the mental and emotional of what you're feeling as you stand in front of that mirror really looking at yourself. As someone who tries not to really look at the mirror even when I find myself in front of it? I can't even imagine trying it, but doing so whether literally or metaphorically is extremely brave especially when you're putting it into words then sharing it openly with so many people.

Then on top of that, and I'll try to say this in a way that isn't taken wrong(and please don't!), to read such a deep, expressive piece regarding body image written by a guy was jaw-dropping. It's not often I see a male who is willing to discuss or look at his body, or reflect on thoughts associated to body image, let alone discuss it in such an open manner. And that you included the part about being objectified! I applaud you for it.

You are definitely an inspiration, and I can see now why this poem inspired so many and such a great movement/project in response. Thank you for writing, and sharing, this piece.Heart Hug 
chromeantennae's avatar

Oh my gosh. I just...holy mackerel. I am so, so, so touched by this comment. You took so much time out to leave such heartfelt words that I simply cannot thank you enough and even that is far from what I would like to express to you. You are a wonderful person for taking so much time out of your day for someone else. Thank you. So, so, so much. :tighthug: :heart:

People like you make this community what it is. :dalove:
totiltwithwindmills's avatar
It's not nearly as significant as you writing this piece and sharing it with us, and sparking such a large response. Heart Happy cry (Tears of joy) Penguin Snuggle 
chromeantennae's avatar
Oh my. :heart: Thank you again. :)
anatiidae's avatar
Loving the intro- the protag, instead of ignoring their reflection, decides to pay attention to just how beautiful they are and I love that idea to open this up with! I think that it's clever and effective that you use images that aren't associated with beauty to convey beauty, like the moles and the 'birds' nest' hair and such. I like the use of the 'looking' words to show their concentration, and I loved the line 'vision kissing...' since it's as if they really love their own self image. Very lovely work you have here, nicely written <3 
chromeantennae's avatar
Gah, thank you ever so much. This comment means so much to me. <33
anatiidae's avatar
I also like that you wrote this piece since it's rare you ever find anything on body image from a male perspective. (I was meant to mention this earlier but forgot!)
I often find men/boys are obscured when it comes to self-image issues, if you get what I mean? Like, no-one really acts like it ever happens to them, I feel. It's quite upsetting.
chromeantennae's avatar
:nod: I completely understand where you're coming from. :heart: Thank you for adding that. :huggle:
haphazardmelody's avatar
This is just wonderful. I think the part about hips is my favorite part; very simple, raw in its own way.

I can definitely see why so many people are jumping on your bandwagon. :heart:
chromeantennae's avatar
:iconbowplz: Thank you so much, Vicky.

And it's just stunning. :love:
anonymous's avatar
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