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Crop Top

by WeepingWisteria


I wore a crop top for the first time today.

The first thing I did was stare at myself in the mirror—eyes trailing all of the places suddenly on display. The line of dark brown hair crawling up my navel, stopping three fingers above my belly button. The reddish-purple stretch marks blooming across my hips. The mole right above my waistline, barely escaping my shorts. The acne dotted randomly on my spine and shoulders. The private collection of things I had memorised was in full view for the world to pick apart and consider. And for the first time, I didn’t care.

I wore a crop top for the first time today.
I remember facing myself in the dressing room mirror, wide-eyed and in awe. I didn’t recognise the person staring back at me. All I knew was someone who felt comfortable in loose, flowy tops and shorts down to their knees. They sucked in their stomach when others were watching, flinching away when eyes lingered for too long. But I loved the person I saw, so I told my mom I wanted the outfit. She was surprised. But, then again, so was I.

I wore a crop top for the first time today.
I’ve always envied those who could wear them before: the girls who coveted their skin, the boys who put theirs on display like a priceless piece of art, the enbies who found comfort in showing off to the world. And perhaps I am a sell-out for that. Maybe I am everything wrong with my generation, obsessing over the idea of this blatant disregard for the standard definition of modesty. But it’s more complicated than that. I’m finally taking control of a body that has never been my own. No longer am I owned by the fear of being seen. I protest against it, brandishing my victory on my midriff.

I wore a crop top for the first time today.
And maybe that’s nothing to celebrate. Everyone who wears them has worn their first one. I’m sure they didn’t stare at themselves, tracing the outline of their sides and watching themselves shift into someone new. But I don’t care. This short shirt, this exposed stomach, is a testament that I’ve won the battle. I can look at myself, gut jutting out over my shorts and hips swollen in stretched muffin tops, and whisper, “I love you.” A year ago, I couldn’t have done that. Maybe yesterday, I couldn’t have done that. This crop top isn’t meant to tease or scandalise. It’s intended to show my love for my body, the same one I’ve loathed for so long.

I wore a crop top for the first time today.
I know this war isn’t over. There will still be days where I’ll cringe when I see my soft stomach and hastily change shorts when my hips peek over. I’m still the person who hides my figure in loose clothes and bad posture. But now I know that’s not every day. For every minute I spend cursing my skin, there’ll be a minute of me cherishing it, rubbing hearts into my pores until the tips of my fingers are smooth with the effort. Yes, the bad days will come again. They always will. But today, I achieved the impossible.
And that’s enough for me.


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Sun Sep 25, 2022 2:37 am
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alliyah says...



Still love this one. <3




WeepingWisteria says...


Ahhh, thank you. <333



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Sun Sep 11, 2022 6:26 pm
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Hijinks wrote a review...



Hi Wisteria! I remember thinking this poem was beautiful when I read it in Poem A Week, and I still think that reading it now!

I adore how much confidence and self-love radiates from this poem. It doesn't feel contrived or arrogant at all, because there's so much backstory in the poem about how long it took the narrator to get to this point of self-acceptance - and it all feels overwhelmingly genuine, too. There's just something about this poem that is so authentic, it's clear you're writing straight from the heart. In my opinion, that is the best possible kind of poetry!

The style of writing feels sort of like a journal entry or perhaps a monologue to me. I find that interesting, because I don't see a lot of poems in that style (at least on this site)! It goes hand-in-hand with the prose poetry format, for sure, but even the tone contributes to that effect - it's very self-reflective, and self-comforting in a way as well. Lines like "Yes, the bad days will come again. They always will. But today, I achieved the impossible." -> feel like the narrator giving themself a pep-talk or motivational advice. And then the language and imagery is quite literal for the most part, as the narrator goes into great depth describing the specific details that caught their eye in the mirror.

Despite that though, the poem still feels very poetic. I think that's because people don't usually spend that much time observing the little things in real life, and so putting it down onto a page feels inherently like poetry to me!

If I had to pick a general theme, that extends beyond the narrator's own self-acceptance, it would be that of body neutrality. Not necessarily declaring physical aspects of yourself to be "beautiful" in a conventional way, but acknowledging that this is the body you have, and it's enough just the way it is. I really love the fact that the narrator picks out things that are culturally considered unappealing (especially on afab bodies), but that are also 100% natural and common - belly hair, stretch marks, bacne, etc. - and views them just as a series of accessories on their body. I wish there was more media/art/writing that describes those physical features just in a matter-of-fact way, because we do all have them and there's nothing inherently good or bad about them: they just are.

Another really important topic I pick up on is that people don't wear revealing clothes for others; they wear them to make themself feel good and confident and loved. It just comes up briefly when the narrator says "This crop top isn’t meant to tease or scandalise. It’s intended to show my love for my body, the same one I’ve loathed for so long", but I think that's a beautiful sentiment to include in the poem <3

I don't have any big critiques, honestly. I like how simple and casual the language is - it fits the context and message of the poem. This is one instance where I don't think more abstract or nonliteral imagery would benefit the poem, either - it feels really grounded in the literal images, and I think abstract images would kind of ruin the effect. So I'm sorry I don't have much constructive stuff to say! Hopefully my interpretations/reactions to the poem still prove at least a little bit helpful to you.

Keep up the fabulous work,
Seirre




WeepingWisteria says...


Ahh, thank you much, Seirre! This poem meant a lot to me, and I%u2019m very glad that my writing conveyed that properly <3



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Sun Sep 04, 2022 2:57 am
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Spearmint wrote a review...



Oop, it looks like the universe really wants me to review poetry today-- xD Anyways, hiya, Wist! mint here with a quick review~ ^-^
So, if I had to summarize this poem in a word, that word would be "powerful." Self-love is an amazing thing, and the narrator's journey towards accepting their body as it is and all the joy and strength involved in that really comes out through this poem. :] Here are some of my favorite lines:

The private collection of things I had memorised was in full view for the world to pick apart and consider. And for the first time, I didn’t care.

Just. Yes! Who cares what others think about your authentic self? (Actually, the answer to that question is me, half the time, and probably most people. xD That makes it so powerful to me that the narrator is able to overcome their insecurity in this moment.)
(Also, I see that British spelling =PP)

For every minute I spend cursing my skin, there’ll be a minute of me cherishing it, rubbing hearts into my pores until the tips of my fingers are smooth with the effort.

I love the image of "rubbing hearts into my pores"— it's such a poetic way to describe showing appreciation for your body. I'm also rather intrigued by the "until the tips of my fingers are smooth with the effort." I feel like it implies that part of the narrator's fingerprints are being rubbed away, which could represent part of the narrator's uniqueness/identity being erased. That kind of contradicts the rest of the sentence, though, so I suspect it's just to show how many times/how long the narrator expresses love for their skin. xD

Alright, and a few other thoughts…
I wore a crop top for the first time today.

For the last repetition of this line, I wonder how making it slightly different would change the poem? For example, one version might be, "I wore a crop top for the first time today, and it won't be the last" or something. Breaking the pattern could make that line and the following stanza stand out... although I suppose the "And that's enough for me" already distinguishes the last stanza and concludes the poem nicely. Hm. Anyways, just throwing out an idea! xD

And that’s enough for me.

Speaking of the last line, the idea of being "enough" for oneself is also really powerful. Earlier in the poem, the narrator compared themself to other people who wear crop tops, but this line shows that they recognize their own victory, and that's enough for them. And the concept of being enough, of not having to measure oneself against others, is also a form of self-love. It reminds me of the saying, “progress, not perfection.” Just. Ahh! Love it. :]

Thanks for the wonderful poem, and I hope you have a fabulous day/night! =D




WeepingWisteria says...


Ahhh, Mint! Thank you! I'm really glad you liked it. ^^

This one was really special to me, so sharing it meant a lot.



Spearmint says...


<3 C:



WeepingWisteria says...


<3



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Sun Sep 04, 2022 1:23 am
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Mageheart wrote a review...



Hi Wisteria! You were kind enough to leave the first review on one of my new poems, so I thought I'd return the favor with a review on this one. <3

I admit I don't have much experience reading poetry that's more prose-like in style, but I really enjoyed the repetition of "I wore a crop top for the first time today." in each section of the poem. It was a good way to tie together each observation and thought you had while wearing the crop top. I also really like the organization of the thoughts. I like how you start with the most basic part (what you saw when you wore the crop top) and then moved onto the present, then the past, and then the future. It was a cool jump through time that showed your growth and why you considered this to be such a groundbreaking moment.

After reading your poem, I very much agree! The amount of self-love you showed in this poem was amazing, and it's part of what makes me love it so much.

On that note, one of my favorite parts of your poem was this one set of lines:

I can look at myself, gut jutting out over my shorts and hips swollen in stretched muffin tops, and whisper, “I love you.” A year ago, I couldn’t have done that. Maybe yesterday, I couldn’t have done that.


I love how you included traits that aren't always thought of as fitting societal beauty standards, and then immediately brought up how much you loved them because they're a part of you. I also love how you brought up how impossible a comment like that would have been the day before.

My one critique is the tense in the first and second stanzas. While both of them are in the past, the second feels like it's slightly farther in the past? I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I think it might be because the "I remember" makes it seem like it happened much longer before the moment. If you remove the "I remember" and just start it with "I faced myself", I think that would solve the tense issue I had.

Besides that, this poem was great! I really enjoyed reading it, and I'm glad you've gotten more comfortable wearing something like a crop trop. <33




WeepingWisteria says...


Ahh, thank you so much!

The second stanza takes place before the first stanza, which is why I mentioned remembering. The second stanza deals with my decision to buy the crop top, whereas the first stanza jumps straight into wearing it for the first time. :)



Mageheart says...


Oooh that makes sense! The time shift was a little jarring while I was reading the poem, but I understand why you chose the order that you did. Describing what it looked like while you were wearing the crop top was a great intro to the poem. :)

It wasn't entirely clear they were from separate times, so maybe that's a better way to word my critique from earlier, then? The mention of the mirror in both the first and second stanza made it sound like it was still in the dressing room, even though you did mention the crop top being visible to everyone in the first stanza.



WeepingWisteria says...


Hmm, alrighty! Thank you for that observation. <3




Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
— Neil Gaiman