Every Body Is the Right Body

Editor’s note (4/19/21): It occurred to me that trans people may read this poem’s title and final line differently than I intended. This poem is my attempt to combat body shame, including my own. Trans men are men; trans women are women. Their desire to change their bodies to match their gender identities is always valid. I hope that all people can live authentically as themselves. For trans* folks, that may mean changing their bodies to match their gender identity. I apologize for any unintended harm.

The body is a temple
Yet we treat her
Like a burden
Always contorting
Trying to shrink
We judge other bodies
Against rules we didn’t make
And don’t believe in
Comparing to a standard
We didn’t create
Take up less space
Like we’re undeserving
Who is worthy?
Our bodies need support
We take up space
So we’re separated
Hidden away
Labeled bad bodies
Like a body can be wrong
Like a human can be false
We can’t heal
Till we reconnect
With our own bodies
And reconcile injustices
We have committed
Against other bodies
All bodies are beautiful
And worthy of care
Every body is the right body

Published by Alissa Paolella

Alissa Paolella is a writer, editor, photographer, social media manager, and marketing communications strategist with over 15 years of experience in the news media, advertising, and health care industries. They have overseen print and digital campaigns for small and large organizations and has served as a communications consultant for numerous nonprofits and universities. In their free time, Alissa enjoys trail-hiking with their camera and almost always has a book (or two) nearby.

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