Love Literati Contest: ‘How to Love a Difficult Thing’ by Kamnelechukwu Susan Obasi

Love literati contest - elsieisy blog

It is hard to love a body that doesn’t listen to you, how on nights you said prayers to it, washed it affectionately, splattered it with sweet smelling oils, fed it with food albeit feverishly, just enough but not quite because you see,  disobedience is a thing stoked by greed.

It is hard

When you look at yourself in the mirror and it doesn’t seem like the answer to your prayers, more like a wasted effort.

How the folds of your stomach hang so low, like the face of a beggar going home after the sun has gone to sleep; with an ache in his sides and a hunger in his tummy. How your thighs are thick enough to crush a three year old baby. How your butt looks like the floor plan of a building. How your teeth looks crooked like a fish hook. How your boobs droop as though it was paying homage to mother earth.

It is hard to love a body that doesn’t listen.

No one told me that to love a thing as fragile as the body demanded patience. They never told me that there would be days that  I’ll fold myself into small shapes just so I become invisible. How I became Thomas; doubting every kind word ever said to me in the name of compliments. No one told me that loving this body would break me in two’s and always fix me back again, it would be the thing that tells me to unfold myself and refuse to recoil as soon as someone said I was beautiful.

A woman once asked me how I became light. How I learnt to be weightless and travel through spaces that didn’t need me there without letting rejection tie a noose around my neck.

You learn to turn yourself inside out, I said. To empty darkness on the sidewalk  And refuse it from loving you because you know that love isn’t the thing that dresses you up in sadness, it isn’t the thing that covers you in shame or constantly nags you for not being enough. You learn to sit still in the silence than have that darkness become your companion.

You learn to remind yourself all the things your mother taught you; how to stay at a spot if you ever got missing because someone will always find you, how not to entertain strangers in your house, to refuse things from them no matter how enticing it looks.

You realize that no matter how you crawl away from yourself and abandon it in places that reek of want, you will always find your way back. Back to the places in your body that are filled with women who didn’t allow their brokenness to steal their voices. You will discover paths between your legs that reek of Ancient Magic where gods have become mere men at the threshold of that temple.
This is how you will come back home to yourself and love every part of this unyielding and unwilling body, knowing that you belong wholly and deeply to yourself.

It is hard to love a body that doesn’t listen but it is yours and being merciful to it is something that should keep you warm at night.

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14 comments

  1. Great writing, really. Your poignant use of simile and metaphor inspires a feeling of self pity yet comaraderie from those of us who have felt such despondency with our bodies.

  2. This is beautiful crafted.

    Humans may always return to what they know best but being merciful to ourselves should keep us warm at night and that is all it takes to get throughvyet another day.
    Well done Kam!

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