My Body

by Mar Barrera ‘20

Content warnings: gender dysphoria, mentions of transphobia

My body feels like a political statement, even though it never asked to be one. Wherever it exists (or doesn’t, according to the Wellesley College administration), it must be prepared to justify and explain its existence. 

My body dissociates when I hear my professor call me by my dead name on the first day of class because I forgot to email them ahead of time. I add emails to the neverending list of things my body needs to have a moment of peace.

My body feels Photoshopped, like an omniscient artist is playing some sick joke.


My body is covered in tattoos because every inch I mask with memories and loved ones helps me begin to recognize pieces of my skin.

My body can consume a horrendous amount of dairy in one sitting.

My body cannot process lactose, but thankfully it’s only uncomfortable for those around me.

My body and bodies like mine have a tendency to try to escape or destroy themselves in various ways, and I’m joyous that mine still exists.  

My body is missing a kidney! Don’t worry, I have one massive kidney that can go all night long, baby.

My body is powerful when it breaks the school bench record.

My body felt like a right foot putting on a left shoe whenever I put on the clothing I was forced to wear for the first eighteen years of my life. I assumed that everyone else around me also felt like they were being stripped naked and mocked every time they got dressed. 

My body needs to feel powerful and capable because it constantly feels like it’s under attack.

My body can’t handle being stared at, so please, if you’re checking me out, throw in a smile or wink so I know you’re not going to harass or physically assault me, because that’s not a far-fetched fear for a body like mine in a society like this.

My body and non-cis bodies like mine have been recognized by the New York Times.. And yet my body isn’t recognized by the administration of Wellesley College, the first place I have ever called home, the first place I ever felt like I had something of value to offer, the first place my body could exhale in peace and safety.

from the September 2019 issue