I hate the way my voice fills with molasses when you compliment my legs. As if I don’t hear the thunderous applause of my cream colored thighs as I walk into a room. As if I haven’t been conditioned by men for millennia to hate every curve and soft spot of my life giving body. This body, that sheds blood to give life. I hate the way my cheeks redden when you compliment my breasts. As if these pendulous pouches haven’t been the talk of the town since I was 12. As if teachers, bosses, seamstresses, boys, and girls, haven’t shamed me into hiding under baggy clothes, minimizing sports bras, and the prayer for a reduction. Too long I’ve been taught to hate. Hate my hair, whose alternately curly wildness and limp tameness have caused me to be endlessly mocked and insulted. Hate my body hair, the ancestral remains of our evolution. I hate the way I’m praised for putting on makeup as if you haven’t told me time and again, “well, you should do what you can to attract a mate”. I hate the way I can see the beauty in my friends but not in myself. That I can’t let go of the insecurities I’ve wrapped around myself like armor. That for every half step forward, there are months of moving backwards. I thought I’d learned to be happier with who I am, but one compliment about my thick, creamy white thighs, and I’m back to being a quiet and shy pre-teen who quickly learned her body would never be her own, but a weapon to be yielded by suppression hungry men and the females they left plugged into the matrix.