Romaisa Habib | Class A2| Beaconhouse Defence Campus, Lahore
Outside my walls
I see abled bodied children
Children who have never seen the inside of an x ray room
I was 12 when I had my first x ray
And some days it feels like I never left

Outside my walls
I see sympathy crawling into my space like spiders
Their webs tangle me into a more complicated creature
I was 13 when my siblings first called me the Hunchback of Notre Dame

Outside my walls
I see privilege in a form I'd never seen before
I was 14 when I was afraid of wearing too little
In case I showed too much of everything wrong with me
A convex showcase of bones and ribcage

Outside my walls
There were women who fed me ideologies of the ideal body
I was always too little or too much
I was 15 when I realised there was something so wrong with my body
And this deformed piece of abstract was never really art

Outside my walls
I saw inspiration float to the skies and for the first time I realised it was possible to climb
I was 16 when I first saw a model who looked like me
And my walls felt so much shorter
I was no longer the outsider
The only student with medical bills greater than her tuition fee

Outside my walls
I see people trying to fix themselves
Self love isn't a destination, it's the road
And for some of us this road is winding
I was 17 when I underwent surgery and survived
I was 17 when I did everything in my capacity to make myself look like the person I wanted to be

I'm 18 and self love is still unbeknownst to me

Because when I was only 12 I was diagnosed with loathing my own body
Outside my walls I see children
Looking in to see the show
And always leaving before it's over

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