I read your submissions and see in the space that we are reclaiming all the many spaces that we have had taken from us. Space to feel anger, space to feel pride. Most poignantly for me today I see us reaching to reclaim our bodies, and I am touched-angered-saddened to see how universal the phenomenon of being alienated from our physical selves can be.

When I say “I’m not sorry that my body hair makes you uncomfortable,” I am also saying:

Fuck you for trying to put your discomfort on me. I have lived in that discomfort, wallowed and foundered in it, suffocated on it. I know it better and more intimately than you ever will. It is exponentially harder for me than it is for you to reject that judgement and yet I manage it. What is your excuse?

I am also saying:

You think because you have eyes you have a right to assess my body and I am here to tell you that you do not.

I am also saying:

This is a place in me that once was tender and raw and though it’s hardened over the surface is delicate.

My refusal to apologize for my body acts as a badge-hard-won, victorious- and as a shield.