Follow me for a second.
Sometimes I feel like hating myself means that I'm too wrapped up in being an American.
When I feel like a big, bulky, ugly fat LOSER, I can always bring myself around by being smart and interested in the world around me. I don't feel better about myself by like... going on a diet or cutting my hair or buying new clothing. I don't change my self image by putting on makeup or wearing something cute. I feel better about myself when I can manage to separate my worth from my appearance.
It's not even really that hard.
When I'm feeling uncomfortable with the way I look, I kind of project myself across the face of existence. I picture women who carry water from a well down a dirt road. I picture women who work in fields, who live in Alaska, who grow things.
Instead of looking around for youthful, appearance obsessed girls to compare myself to, I find similarities between us, instead. I am smart enough to know that every beauty obsessed girl in this world doesn't feel good enough. Every single one of them goes to bed at night feeling like they don't get it; the point of life. They feel scared and starved and commodified. They've all loved somebody who didn't love them. They've all wanted something they couldn't have. They're all covering things up, too.
When I want to feel better about myself, I get down on my knees in the dirt. I nuzzle into my daughter, breathe deeply the scent of her. I tie my skirt into a knot and wade into the water, somewhere. I slip on the rocks. I bleed red blood. I swallow the hook. I hike the heights.
When I start to feel like I'm fat and ugly and no good, I remind myself that I exist as a tiny speck of life in a churning universe that is so much more than we are. I am not what I see in the mirror. I am not my shoes and feet and legs. I am not a picture of myself, faking a smile with a double chin. I am not a stupid girl who sweats over my fears and insecurities, who cries because I can't be picked up like a baby by a man. I am not an American person, only. I do not forget about the women at the well, their babies tied to their bellies; babies that suckle as they work for water. I don't forget about women who nest with chickens and rats. I don't forget about life under a bridge. I don't forget the pain of labor; bearing down and grunting while my sister and sweet, scared love whispered terrified poems of encouragement into my distorted face. I am not ugly because I'm not pretty. I am beauty that would murder you, if you knew how to see beauty. I cried and shook in the hospital shower, faint and retching, while my lover knelt at my feet, washing the insides of my thighs and thanking me. I am a person of the world.
I turn seed into food. I birthed slippery, beautiful children. They were covered in my blood. I cried and my tears made pools in the canals of my ears. I am not a stupid girl, and I am smart enough to know what beauty means. I make beauty out of the air. I eat beauty for breakfast. I am not what you think a woman is. I grip at roots and veins in the muck of existence. I vomit and crawl. I bleed red like rust. I am a person of the world.