Body Horror

Body Horror

Content Warning: The following piece contains content and terminology related to gender/body dysphoria.


Body is a word that weighs heavy on the mind tonight
as it does almost every night, tomorrow, and the day after

Body is bent at angles all over, sewn together from magazine scraps
to cover parasite bite marks and the places i cover and bind

When I turned 16 and I was still sitting in the soprano section in choir, that was the first time I remember feeling my body turn against me. When I was about 10 years old, I had the idea that my voice would drop when I hit puberty. I knew even then that only boys feel their voices drop as they get older, but some sort of cognitive dissonance made me believe that I was an exception. That feeling only got stronger when my hair refused to lay the way my brother’s did, when my chest prevented me from wearing button-ups from the men’s section. I never wanted to be a boy, but I wanted to at least have the option of moving how I wanted to through the world. I learned not to think of my body as my own anymore, and I learned to hide the growing resentment behind pretty floral dresses and bows.

the claw marks on my throat, the skirts i tore to shreds
authority harvested my organs and veins for spare parts

and left the rest to rot, splattered on the pavement
blood is angry color, and i’ve dyed all my clothes dark red

Resentment breeds anger and anger breeds destruction. For a teenager there are a great many available methods to destroy a body—I’m sure I cycled through most of them—but all these roads led to the same place: alone, bloody, with the same unsolved problems as before. My body was hijacked before I could even conceptualize that I had one, bloodied and foreign and bent at the all wrong angles. If the body is a machine made of blood and flesh, designed to carry our thoughts from place to place, what happens when the machine gets hacked? What happens when your body becomes the enemy of your conscious mind? It took years to straighten myself out enough to make sense of which parts were mine and which were Frankenstein’s.

Body was strapped down and infested with plastic i never asked for
until it poured out the sides and overtook my mind

i never wanted to be a boy but i never said
i wanted to be anything else either—