The Body Monologue

Family, you might want to skip this one. 
Some musings on the ways that ownership of my body has been taken from me. Best read aloud.
TW: Sexual assault.

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When I was fourteen, a boy in my class took hold of my wrists and kissed my neck.
No one had touched that part of me before.
I felt his mouth hot on my skin, my tiny wrists fluttering like birds under his fingers.
It reminded me of a game Dad and I used to play.
Except I knew my Dad would never hurt me.
In seconds, it was over. And he broke away. And laughed.
I laughed too. But I didn’t feel like laughing.

When I was fifteen, the girls in the high school changing room
With their women’s bodies and their sharp, sullen tongues
Would pull at my bra straps and tug at the buttons on my shirt
Exposing my chest to the laughter of the room.
I’d turn away to hid my shame
Hot tears falling on my traitorous child’s body.

When I was sixteen, the weight of my age and all that it meant felt heavy.
I let a boy feed me chocolates. I’d pose and preen and twist my body.
Flicking my frizzy teenage fringe.
Squirming to escape the echoes of
“You’re such a good friend”
And
“No wonder the guys don’t look twice”
The message was clear:
Your body is a show for them
And you’re doing it wrong.

When I was seventeen, I met a boy.
A boy who would show me what my body could do.
A boy who would touch and kiss and love, but never presume to possess.
Who held my hands instead of my wrists.

When I was eighteen, I was walking home one night. It was Hallowe’en.
I was dressed as Cinderella.
A homeless man, crushed against a dark shop front, grabbed hold of me and pulled me to the ground.
As I felt the bite of the pavement on my knees
And his fingers circle my wrists,
I wondered, why do people touch me like this?

When I was nineteen, a boy pinned me to the wall
And tugged up my skirt
The music in the club pounded in my head as I felt his fingers climb.
I was drunk.
My skirt barely skimmed my thighs.
I was alone,
Waiting for my boyfriend to return from the bathroom.

When I was twenty, I felt tears sting my eyes
As a stranger spat that I probably spent my life in the gym
For a body that no man would ever want to touch.
Over and over
Your body is not for you to enjoy.
You’re doing it wrong.

When I was twenty-one, a man requested that I wrap my legs around his head
As I walked for a train at eleven-thirty in the morning.
When I politely declined, he suggested that
If I didn’t want to be treated like a whore,
I shouldn’t dress like one.
I should hide away my body
To keep it safe.

When I was twenty-two, I moved to London
With its cloudy, bustling streets
And the dusty tube
I stood in rush hour with the other commuters,
Pumping like blood through the veins of the city,
When someone pressed against me.
Everyone was pressed against me, but not like this.
I stood frozen with fear and shame,
Feeling his flesh against my flesh
Back and forth
Until my stop.

At twenty-three, I took a photograph in my bikini
In front of an advert that once again screamed
YOUR BODY IS NOT FOR YOU
YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.
A silly, wild, empowering stunt.
People asked, what does your boyfriend have to say?
Do you think guys find stick insects sexy?
Are you so desperate for validation that you need to get your tits out?
You have to hide your body away
To keep it safe.
It’s not for you.
You’re doing it wrong.

16 thoughts on “The Body Monologue

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Thank you thank you thank you! And thank you so much for offering to read before I published it…made me brave enough to do it!

  1. This post made me feel 100 different emotions with every sentence. It’s so well written and so brave. Your “silly wild empowering stunt” has helped so many and you should be so proud of what you have achieved and how far you’ve come.

    Damzel In This Dress

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Thank you s much for reading, Rosie. Was a scary, difficult one to write, but what a response I’ve had!

  2. Rita says:

    I love you.
    This is all.

    (Also, Eve Ensler’s “The Good Body” & “I’m An Emotional Creature”.)

    <3 <3 <3

  3. Oh my, this post spoke to me so strongly. Well done for publishing this! You’ve written this so beautifully considering how emotionally difficult it must have been for you.

    I’m so glad I have found you (on twitter) and you’re blog. This is going straight to the top of my favourite blogs list!

  4. Thank you. This is incredibly moving. I remember being that teenager/twenty-something. It gets better. My sincere wish is that it didn’t have to be so bad, first.

  5. This is beautifully written, and I am crying. Not just because it’s beautifully eloquent, but because 1) as girls our bodies are never truly our own and 2) if we try to make them our own, then suddenly everyone thinks that it has to be for a reason so far removed from ‘no this is for me’ that we circle back to number one. And also because I’m sorry that you’ve had to experience those things. You’re incredibly strong.

    And beautiful. And that silly empowering stunt was probably the best things I’ve seen this year.

    So much love to you, and thank you for writing this. <3

    Fii || little miss fii

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Thank you so much for reading my lovely. You’re so right, any attempt at taking back our own autonomy is always seen as an attention seeking stunt for the guys. So much love back x

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