Parts of My Body I Actually Like

Two photos of Morgan's feet, one of xir favourite body parts, taken from underneath

Like a lot of people – especially AFAB people, and double-especially disabled AFAB people – I have a difficult relationship with my body. There are plenty of parts of it that I dislike (like my nose and my midriff), or that I resent (like my easily-scarred skin that results from the fucky connective tissue I’ve got, and my slightly bowed legs, a reminder that I spent most of puberty deliberately malnourishing myself). Then there are parts of my body with which I can only ever form an uneasy and conditional truce, like my boobs, which only look cute (in my opinion) when my nipples are erect, or my butt, which looks good from certain angles (again, in my opinion). Ideally, I’d like to reach a point where I feel neutral or great about all of my body parts, but I’m just not there yet.I am, however, far enough into my body confidence/body not-hating journey that I can write a whole photo-heavy blog post about the parts of my body I’m feeling good about. I hope y’all will enjoy them as much as I do! (I also hope you’ll be forgiving about my photography. I only have a smartphone camera to work with, and I have the spatial awareness of a drunk toddler.)

 

EARS

A photo of Morgan's ear, which has two piercings in it and is very cute

My ears are, I think, dainty and little. Sometimes, when I’m flirting with someone, I’ll invite them to feel how soft the skin on my earlobes is, because it’s just insanely fucking soft (probably because connective tissue science things). They’re also unreasonably erogenous – nibbling on them, kissing around them, breathing into them and so on will reduce me to a puddle in moments. Plus, they’re great places to get piercings in, for those times when I sort of crave a new piercing but don’t want to commit to anything super visible.

 

FEET (Undersides)

Two photos of Morgan's feet, taken from underneath

I have mixed feelings about my feet as a whole, because I think I have weirdly long, skinny toes – but from underneath, you can’t really tell! All you can see is a delicately arched foot! They’re adorable! (Also, I like my feet from a practical perspective – they endure a lot of walking and stomping and being sat on when I cross my legs, and I appreciate their resilience as well as their cuteness.)

 

EYELASHES

Side-by-side closeups of Morgan's eye, one with a closed eye and one open. Xir eyelashes are thick, long and dark

So it turns out that it’s really tricky to photograph one’s own eyelashes, but I did my best. My eyelashes have always been long and dark, meaning that I have probably saved a fortune over the years in mascara (or eyelash extensions, or tinting, or whatever the kids are doing to their eyelashes these days).

 

THESE COOL MOLES THAT MAKE UP ORION’S BELT

An image of the side of Morgan's torso, showing three moles and also some sideboob. A purple line has been drawn to connect the dots and make Orion's Belt

Need I say more? (I will say more: Orion’s Belt is the first constellation I learned to reliably spot, and I think it’s extremely cool that I have it on my body. We’re all made up of stardust, and these moles remind me of that. They also remind me that I am a huge nerd.)

 

MOUTH & TEETH

Two shots of Morgan's mouth - one where xir mouth is closed, and one in which xe is smiling, so you can see xir teeth

I have nice lips. They do nice things to people sometimes. They’re soft and pretty and a good place to put lipstick. I also have cute front teeth, including remarkably sharp canines which help me get into packaging and destroy stim toys.

 

VULVA

Morgan's shaved vulva, with xir hands either side

I posted on Twitter about disliking my asymmetrical labia minora when I was younger, but now I regard the asymmetry as both natural and very cute. (I’m also fascinated by how it’s the left side that’s bigger, and my left boob is also my bigger boob. Is there a connection?) I’ve never seen a vulva I didn’t love, so maybe including mine in this list is something of a cop out, but I like its proportions and colouring and the fact that my clitoral hood is so protective of my clit.


This post feels weirdly vulnerable. As humans, and especially as marginalised humans, we’re taught not to brag about anything, especially not our bodies – but that’s bullshit, because human bodies are beautiful and we should be excited about the ones we live in!

Love Letters From Lucid Morgan: Paranoia and Delusions

Stock image of two fluffy dogs lying in bed together, apparently sleeping, because they're calming to me and hopefully to others who struggle with paranoia and delusions, too

Note: This was originally a therapeutic exercise suggested to me by my counsellor after I mentioned that sometimes “Sober Morgan” leaves notes for “Inebriated Morgan”, reminding them of the things they need to do before bed and the like. She put forth that “Lucid Morgan” could write to “Paranoid Morgan” or “Depressed Morgan”, reminding myself of coping strategies and facts of reality as well as providing myself with a much-needed dose of compassion. I figured these letters could also be useful to people who suffer symptoms similar to mine, so I’m posting them here. Also, this letter will refer to the paranoia and delusions I sometimes suffer, as well as self-harm. If that’s hard for you, give this one a miss – this is supposed to be a helpful tool, not another trigger!


Dear Paranoid Morgan,

Hi, it’s me. Well, it’s you. It’s us. I’m writing to you now, while I feel relatively sturdy and in touch with reality, to talk to you during what I know to be a deeply scary moment for us. I want you to know that everything I’m about to say, I truly believe in this moment, and that I’ve felt exactly the way you’re feeling before – but I’m stable enough now to realise that it will pass. It always passes.

I imagine you’ll remember what we’re meant to do in these situations, when you’re struggling with paranoia and/or delusions, but a refresher can’t hurt. Take deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth, for a count of at least four seconds apiece. Try to ground yourself in reality with the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 approach (that’s five things you can see, four you can hear, three you can touch, two you can smell and one you can taste), or recite your address, your address from childhood, your mum’s phone number and/or the names of all the Organization XIII members from Kingdom Hearts. You know the drill.

Now, I’m gonna make a gentle suggestion: take your damn sedatives. They are not poison. We know this because we have taken them numerous times and suffered no ill effects. The sleepiness you feel isn’t them poisoning you, it’s them working to soothe your sympathetic nervous system, so that the panic you’re currently feeling wears off. And no, the panic isn’t a good thing. It isn’t keeping you safe, because the thing you’re panicking about isn’t a real danger. And I know you know that, because you identified you were experiencing paranoia or delusions or what-have-you with at least enough clarity to pick up this letter, but I also know that knowing and believing are two separate things.

Here are some more reminders:

  • This feels like shit, and that’s very real. You don’t deserve to feel like shit. This feeling might take hours or even days to wear off, but it does end eventually.
  • I repeat, it does end eventually. We’ve been here hundreds of times and survived it, and it goes away. Even if you wholly believe that the paranoid thing you think right now is the permanent, immutable truth of the universe and you will never change your mind, remember that the panic goes away. Sometimes it does that without us doing anything. Sometimes, you need to take your sedatives and perform some sensory-seeking behaviours until you feel more grounded. But the panic goes away, as do the paranoia and delusions.
  • Bad things that have happened to you were not your fault, and they weren’t caused by that weird evil you think lives under your skin. We know that when bad things happen to other people, it’s not as a result of nameless evil residing in their bodies, and we can’t talk the talk about victim-blaming but then do it to ourselves. The bad things that happen to the people around you aren’t your fault either. I promise.
  • I know I can’t convince you that life isn’t some elaborate simulation or illusion if that’s where you’re at, but remember: other people worry about this too, and they talk about it. If it were a simulation, it’d be stupid of its designers to alert you to that possibility by having other people consider it out loud. And, like we said in AS Philosophy (much to the chagrin of our long-suffering teacher), why does it matter if it’s a simulation? If it’s so detailed and consistent and believable that it seems like real life, then, for all intents and purposes, it is real life. Plus, if it’s a simulation, there’s nothing we can do about that anyway – you might as well eat some simulated Ben & Jerry’s and relax about it.
  • You won’t die in your sleep. We have slept thousands of times in the past 21 years and lived. There is no medical reason to suspect you could die in your sleep and people don’t die in their sleep very often at all. That means that none of your partners will die in their sleep either, and nor will your mum, the dog, your friends or anybody else you’re connected to.
  • You’ve got this. You have. The panic will pass but you don’t need to hurry it along necessarily. You know what steps you can take to help it ease off in its own time, and you know that it’s your body’s outdated way of trying to keep you safe, and you know that we’ve felt like this before, recovered and felt great the next day. You will be calm again. You will be happy again.
  • You are one of the most resilient and tenacious people in the world. We can no longer count on our digits all of the things we’ve survived; nor can we count our triumphs. If today’s triumph is not cutting your face open to extract the supernatural evil that supposedly caused your partner’s recent car accident (or whatever else you think it caused), that’s huge. You should celebrate.
  • I love you. As Lucid Morgan, I can look back on Paranoid Morgan and see a scared, confused human who is trying their absolute best. I can see how hard you’re battling. I am in awe of you and I love you. Give yourself a hug from me.

Thank you for finding it within yourself to read my letter. Thank you for keeping us as safe as you can. Thank you for working so, so hard to examine and recognise the things that you’re feeling and thank you for never, ever giving up.

All my love,

Lucid Morgan 💖