My left breast is bigger than my right. It seems sadder somehow, like it’s the one carrying the weight of all my expectations and failing to meet them. When I sit, hunched over as I am now, my naked breasts look like eyes and the folds of my stomach resemble the lipless smile of Jabba the Hut, his laughs taunting me through the mirror.

But my eyes lift and I stare at their colour – the same as my mother’s – and I smile. The creases at the edges of my eyes fold into their laughing lines and the slight dimple below the right corner of my mouth appears. I move my hands to feel Jabba’s face and eyes and remark at how soft they are; how lucky I am to be soft.

The scars on my abdomen stretch and glisten in the light with the movement of my straightening back; my broad swimmers’ shoulders rolling backwards into a posture that tightens the skin on my chest and reveals the stretch marks on my breasts. How lucky I am to have a body that tells a story; a body that is not perfect. Perfect imperfection.

My freckles are more obvious the longer I stare into my reflection. Sun spots from my youth spent at swimming pools and my adulthood in the sun, chasing waves and tans and feeling the sand between my toes; the cement hot on the soles of my feet.

Ahh, my feet. They are still flat, covered in callouses and thick skin. Not soft to the touch, they’re the literal walking portrait of time spent running, jumping and revelling in a shoeless paradise. They are works of art, a gallery of curated blisters, thickened callouses, knobbly bone and scars from sticks and stones. I hated them once but now they remind me of the choices I’ve made. The hard roads I’ve travelled down; the liberation of shedding expectations.

My hair misses the Australian sun. As its colour deepens, so too do my eyes. My stare is more penetrating than it was before. I see more. I see more clearly.

As I get older the chip on my front tooth becomes more obvious: a relic of a childhood fear of hurting my eyes with chlorinated water and the social price of wearing goggles outside of swimming training.

Stories are everywhere I look.

I look back at my stomach and see the family sized packet of chocolate I ate earlier tonight, entirely spoiling my dinner. I grin, a cheeky grin with a chipped tooth. I no longer fear the social price.

I relax my shoulders and look back at Jabba. Iconic. I chuckle.

Feature image by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash

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Mate, who am i?

(I ask myself the same thing)

Travelling can be really hard when you never feel like you're prepared. But, the more I do it the more I realise that being unprepared is the best way to travel. I’m Rowena. I live with depression and an anxiety disorder, which inspires a lot of my writing. My first reaction is to over-pack, over-worry, freak out, and give myself a headache. I’m consciously rebelling against that.

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