I Am Not My Body

03 Mar 2016

This poem was originally recited at She’s Got Talent 2016, organized by the New York Region of NCSY.

Tova Rosen
Tova Rosen recites her original poem “I Am Not My Body” at She’s Got Talent 2016. Photo courtesy of Naomi Abeserah

Tova Rosen, a 10th grader at the Torah Academy for Girls (TAG) in Far Rockaway, NY, was a top finalist within the competition.

I am not my body.

I am not my body.

I am more

than the numbers on my scale

and the numbers on my test.

But this world

forces me to see

with judgmental eyes,

like the mass of humanity needs to be one.

Not in a cohesive united way,




barely breathing,

into shapes of society.

My hips and my shoulders

bulge of the corset

they want me to fit into.

Justifying it by saying

“beauty is painful.”


Beauty should not be painful.

It should be real.

It should be comfortable.

It should be pure.


Pure is not painful.


Is your life measured by lipgloss,

hairbands, or the amount of people that sit around you at lunch?


I still lose myself.


Hiding in external elements because when I don’t I hear “What will they think.”

“Are you really gonna eat that?”

“Try harder”


Is your blood darker than mine?

“Try harder”…?

You just spit out words,

tint them, strip them of all meaning.

You never wore my shoes.

Yet you still use words as weapons.

Dividing your own values into letters.

Categorizing into labels:



“mentally unbalanced”






But the thing about labels is that they’re black or they’re white.


Two different extremes

on opposite spectrums of the universe.

Not even on the same radar.

No gray area.

No way out.


You’re either  ten out of ten

or non-factor.


Quarterback or on the bleachers.


You’re only worth is your label.


Relying you’re own love for yourself based on opinions.


But words are temporary.

They won’t follow you to your grave.


They update.

Based on your newest shoes,

or how you look after that detox diet.


Starving in your own insecurities.


After you see the dermatologist

and your face is shining like the moon,

but surrounded in darkness.


Make it or break it.

Kill or be killed.


So I destroy what destroys me, like I’m going into a cold pool.

One step at a time,

getting each toe immune

to the temperature.

Before I dive in,

Not fazed by the cold.

I don’t even know how many people I’m hurting.


My skin is shriveled

in lack of sensitivity.

Drowning in my own filth.

Shallow beauty






Tears beneath my smile,

Sadness behind my laugh


Try hard-


Try hard-


Try Harder


So I analyze the rain.

Holding hands with nature, like we are a team.

The sky is crying with me,

raining, releasing pain within drops of water.

As the thunder cracks into roars,

screaming with me.

Still holding my hand

setting me free.


But I still have scars and bruises

I played with fire

I burnt myself a few times repetition

I fall every time


In this twisted fractured concept

of beautiful


Handing my happiness into hands of strangers


Giving parts of myself to judgmental eyes


Manipulated and brainwashed by labels,

so I peel off mine


Refusing to try harder.


I am not letters.

I am not numbers.

I will not try harder.


I am not my body.

I am more.

I am so. much. more.




The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.