An Apology To My Body

An Apology To My Body | A Body Positivity Poem

An apology to my body

I’m sorry for endless empty 
stomachs filled with nothing 
but coffee grounds and ash. 
For burning your insides 
with bottles of liquor 
and broken glass.

I’m sorry for trying 
to claw out of you 
as if I were buried alive. 
Fingernails into your flesh 
trying to rid myself of you.

I’m sorry for carving train tracks
from razor blades and pooling 
blood beneath, hoping 
they would take me somewhere 
far from you. I’m sorry for 
the twelve inch gash on your thigh 
I splayed open like a butcher 
to a cows stomach.

I’m sorry for all the times 
I screamed at you and called 
you names like an abusive lover, 
white-knuckled in rage.

I’m sorry for all the people 
who roughed up your soft skin. 
They never deserved to know you 
the way I do.

I’m sorry for taking so long
in learning how to love you. 
I’m sorry I will forget 
how once again, always in
learning of how to love 
you stronger.

We began as one,
an archaic bond. 
You knew me before 
I knew my first breath.
Let me press yarrow 
to our wounds
and begin 
to mend.

To the One I'm Spending My Life With

My limbs are stretched in different directions and I change just as often as the weather. I am here and there. I am in between and outside of. I am all around. I am a reader, a blogger, a mother, a lover, a cleaner, a worker, a learner, a cook. My mind is always filled with ways to improve our lives. Make things simpler. Make things organized. Make things fun. Make things fulfilling. Make things inspiring. It is filled with writings I forget to jot down. It is filled with song lyrics. It is filled with ideas. It is filled with things I hope we do together. It is filled with things I hope to accomplish. It is filled with doubt. It is filled with the present moment. 

I know some days I get lost in my own thoughts and ideas. I lose the stillness. I know there is worry within me, meshing with a constant joy I feel and sometimes the worry overrides anything else. There is this quiet, calm stress I feel throughout my body. Ready to break through at the slightest annoyance. It becomes soft tidal waves that crashes over me and tries to drown us both. Gently, silently. Like an assassin that you never saw coming.

There is this constant pressure I put on both of us to improve. Sometimes I want it all done with the snap of my fingers and sometimes I get irritated when it doesn't happen the way I want. But I know we are both trying and I know we both have skeletons to defeat and I know we are both growing. We are growing separately and we are growing together. As parents, as lovers, as people. Occasionally, we fumble and scrap our knees but we dust the dirt off one another and we get back up again. Stronger and more resilient than before.

I want you to know that I am here for you. For us. For him. I am here, even when I want things done a certain way or feel defeated when things aren't perfect or when my mind is made of fog and dust and spiderwebs. I am here and I am listening to your needs. I am still finding a balance for myself outside of motherhood, inside of motherhood, for our son, for you and week after week, I feel one is being nurtured more than others and the scales tip yet again and I collapse.

When things are falling apart, when things are messy, when things are organized, when things are beautiful, when things are busy, when things are exactly the way we could hope, when things are full of laughter, when things are full of tears, when things happen unexpectedly, I know you'll be by my side, holding my hand, and together we'll overcome. Who we are as individuals will overlap and occasionally we'll bare our teeth at one another like wolves standing our ground, but we'll always be intertwining as one and cultivating this adventure of ours, united and in love. 


Shayna Shattelroe

25 years old. Mama to Maddox. Word weaver. Lover of love. Coffee addict. Psychological science student. 

A woman of curious nature, my name is Shayna. I am wild & reserved. Humbled & proud. Quiet & clamorous. Strange & familiar. I live in the trees of New England typing away as lifestyle blogger. You can always find me with a coffee cup in one hand and a book in the other.

Blogging since 2005, I’ve had an innumerable amount of blogs on a vast number of platforms. Finally, I’ve found one to call home: The Lovely Cicada. This blog is a piece of myself I extend to you.

Kink and Consent: Christian Grey is An Abuser, Not A Dom

Kink and Consent: Christian Grey is an Abuser, Not a Dom or A Romantic Hero

When 50 Shades of Grey came out, everyone around me was swooning over it. Family members purchased it, friends were talking about, yet I was slightly put off on how mainstream and beloved it became. BDSM has always been looked down upon, questioned, misunderstood, and shamed in society. As someone into BDSM, as someone who had friends into BDSM, as someone who perused Fetlife, as someone who listened to other people share their stories, as someone who dabbled in different kinks, and as someone who was open about it - I knew how others viewed it. So hearing a supposed BDSM book was popular among communities? I had to check out the hype because something seemed -- off

And I was right.

The central relationship is not a consensual BDSM one: it is abuse and manipulation. Hands down. In abusive relationships, consent, respect, limits, and trust is nonexistent.  In true BDSM relationships (and relationships in general), there is consent, trust, limits, respect, and understanding being given from the beginning. In true BDSM relationships, pain is voluntary and pain is desired. Both the dominant and the submissive know what they are getting into. In Ana's relationship, she was emotionally and mentally manipulated into pain she didn't actually want and wasn't even remotely prepared for.

What is BDSM?

To put it simply, it is the erotic practice or roleplaying involving Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism. BDSM strongly encourages consent, trust, communication, education, and safety. Bullying, blackmail, and emotional manipulation is not an occurrence in BDSM. There are no contracts. Consent is given but can 100% be revoked at ANY time. Communication is present at every turn. There is an illusion that subs are not in charge - when in fact they are. Tops will obey immediately when a bottom requests the stop. It is very important for the top (or Dominant) to be very aware of their bottom (or Submissive). It is important both top and bottom are in tune with one another. The top holds a strong responsibility of making sure their bottom is safe and enjoying themselves.

Education is key in BDSM due to safety hazards - both mental and physical. It is strongly stressed in the BDSM community and it is something that is lost within this book giving people the idea that it's okay just to go out, buy some products, and begin paddling their partners or tying them up improperly potentially causing nerve damage. There is an art and a technical aspect to many things in the BDSM community that this book fails to reiterate and understand. 

The Problems

Anastasia Steele

The main character. She has no sexual identity, has low self-esteem, is introverted and seemingly shy, has abandonment issues (aka the typical "daddy issues" portrayal), is bullied by her only friend, and pretty much holds no personality or unique traits, and feels no self worth until Christian Grey comes along and tells her how and when to do things. She is vulnerable and co-dependent and an abusive man uses that to his liking and treats her like prey to manipulate the way he sees fit. It is not okay to portray quiet, vulnerable, introverted, and nonsexual women as potential submissive victims that can be molded, manipulated, and treated like shit and name it "romance" or "true love". It is harmful. 


He has everything tracked. He has told her "Alaska is very cold and no place to run. I would find you. I can track your cell phone - remember?" He constantly shows up unannounced wherever Ana is - her work, her home, the bar, her mom's house, he repeatedly calls her no matter how many times she doesn't pick up. Unwanted attention is not affection and it is not flattering. It is harassment. 


He bought out all the photos Ana's friend took of her at an exhibit because he didn't want anyone else to see them. Red flag. She's hired as a publishing assistant and he buys out the entire company claiming he wants to make sure she's safe when in reality, he wants to keep tabs on her every move. Red flag. Literally says, "I exercise control in all things, Miss Steele." Red flag. She goes out with a friend to a bar and gets drunk after Christian told her not to so he flies from New York to Washington. That night. Red. Flag. 


Christian Grey gets close to rage anytime anyone touches or talks to Ana. Jealousy is a natural reaction in relationships but Christian's consumes him. He acts as if it is an emotion that can't be controlled and that's not noble -- that's horrifying and often the beginning sign of abuse. Possessiveness is not attractive and this is not what it would look like in a true BDSM relationship and it is not what it should look like in a regular relationship. 

Ignoring Safe WordS & a Partner's Limits

"No, I protest, trying to kick him off. He stops. 'If you struggle, I'll take your feet too. If you make a noise, Anastasia, I will gag you." Anastasia was uncomfortable and unsure for the entirety of the book. And although, no is not often used a safe word in BDSM, Ana has never been apart of the BDSM community to truly grasp the concept of safe words. He also manipulates her into thinking she shouldn't be using safe words anyway by basically saying any sort of no is a "convince me" i.e. “If you say no, you’ll say no. I’ll have to find a way to persuade you.” And let's not forget this horrifying gem from Ana's perspective, 

"I blanch. What can I tell him? That he frightened me. That I didn’t know if
he’d stop. That I begged him—and he didn’t stop. That I didn’t want things to escalate
. . . like—like that one time in here. I shudder as I recall him whipping me
with his belt.
I swallow. 'Because . . . because you were so angry and distant and . . . cold.
I didn’t know how far you’d go.'"

He was never concerned with how Ana felt but merely how it affected him. 


I won't beat this horse anymore than I have but obviously, the portrayal of BDSM is completely out of touch with what it actually is. Not to mention, portraying Christian Grey as a man with deep seated emotional trauma stemming from childhood abuse who is unable to initiate intimacy outside of sadomasochism because of it is a continued mockery to the community. It states that people participating in BDSM do so because of some sort of psychological damage and that is not always the case.

Self-Awareness & Removing Accountability 

Christian Grey is not an idiot. He knows he's dark and twisted, he knows he has issues, he has stated it. This is why he's been in therapy for years (with seemingly no progress). He admitted his actions and motives were often selfish yet he continued to repeat old behaviors and the same path. Self-awareness is great but useless if one continues to manipulate someone for selfish reasons. 

Love Can Make Someone Change

So many women (and men) in abusive relationships strongly hold onto the idea that their love and their sympathy can help the abuser change their ways. No matter how many times the opposite occurs. This novel perpetrates that idea and allows women in this same position to keep on trucking on. To keep on taking abuse in hopes that something will change. We need to be teaching our women that it is okay to leave. That we are not emotional saviors of men. That it is not our job to fix someone. That we are important and that we have self worth. 

The Author

My other issue I hold is with the author herself. I remember watching this interview and being mortified that this was the woman who was attempting to normalize abuse and calling it BDSM. She did research via the internet and seemed as though BDSM was something to be ashamed of while being questioned by the interviewer. She had a huge platform to help normalize the misunderstood BDSM community. She had a huge platform to promote sexual positivity. She did none of it. But I don't blame her, I would be ashamed with this mess of a book as well. 

This series is an insult and mockery to the BDSM community. Christian Grey is portrayed as a romantic, edgy hero when he is, in reality, a master manipulator. Horror movies are labeled as horror movies. There is no question about the purpose of a horror movie. There will be gore and murder and brain matter. Rape culture and abuse masquerading as a romance movie gives the wrong idea to countless viewers. And in a world where rape culture exists, normalizing and fetishizing this type of relationship is dangerous. 

By all means, watch the movies and read the books. Enjoy it. Go out and buy yourself a blindfold, some rope, a whip, and pick a safe word. Feel sexy. Feel inspired. Feel seduced. Feel horny. Feel aroused. But do research. Talk to your partner. Understand each other's limits. Understand safety concerns. Be open. But please do not use this book or this movie as a manual or a relationship to achieve. It's important to realize the problematic undertones within this series and have an open, honest discussion about it. 

What we truly need is more erotic books that fetishize making women squirt and partners that equally communicate needs and desires. Romanticize consent.