During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, “Not for Ourselves Alone” is running a special series called 30 Days of Bodyshaming, designed to give a voice to the many different experiences of girls and women. This series will feature guest posts by professors, writers, a cartoonist, young girls, and mothers. Gut wrenching and honest, these stories are presented in an attempt to bring about a deeper understanding of the plight of girls and women as we make our way in world that, for us, is hostile at its best and violent at its worst.
by Denise Santomauro
Moonbeams shine on the shameful parts,
pieces of me I cover and hide.
Surrounded by stunning bodies,
blazing perfection and grace,
my thighs and hips and round belly
turn dumpy and ugly, dimpled and wrong.
Dipping naked in the inky black water,
a dare, can’t turn it down, want to belong.
They leap and jump, arcing beauties flying.
Alone, rough dock wood cuts into my fat toes,
my lumpy curves apparent, exposed. Shame
catapults me into the murky depths.
Smooth liquid curls around parts long disposed,
discarded in disgust, masked and clothed,
embraced now with love and a sigh.
Smiling moon casts down diamond sparkles,
our whole selves serene, brilliant, glowing.
In the water, we become equal.
Denise Santomauro is a writer, storyteller, and performer. In addition to performing in a variety of stage plays in Chicago, Denise has performed in live lit around the city. She has also published several pieces of non-fiction. Denise is currently pursuing an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.