This Body, My Body

Written by Ameema Saeed, Illustration by Paola Saliby

More manifesto than memoir, This Body, My Body reads like a letter Ameema is writing to herself, one of the many steps in her journey to come to terms with her body, for all its glories and hurdles; and with her pain, for all it has taught her about perseverance, wishing, coping, and healing.

This story is not an explanation, or an apology, or a request for your permission. This story does not seek your advice about how to talk to her co-workers when she experiences a Lupus flare, or how to ignore the ignorant who judge her for sitting on a streetcar for three stops or taking an elevator two flights up.

If this story makes any apologies, they are apologies Ameema makes to herself. If this story seeks permission, it grants as much by taking up space on the page. This story is the charter of Ameema’s body, and its writer the sovereign power.

Featured story for January 2019

My body is a vessel that carries me where I need to go. The stock that roots me to this earth. A home that hugs, and holds, and comforts. A body that loves, laughs, runs, sleeps. This body has walked around the Colosseum in Rome and crossed bridges over the Grand Canal in Venice, marvelling at the history and the beauty surrounding it. This body has (shakily) summited a Rocky Mountain, knees trembling  from fear, from exhaustion, from awe. This body has seen me through school, and job interviews, and speeches. This body was prom queen, this body can DANCE. This body can comfort a loved one, it can kiss and caress. This body can love.
— Ameema Saeed

Paola Saliby

Paola Saliby is an artist and illustrator from Brazil. Passionate about literature and psychoanalysis, her work reflects human experiences, solitude, mystery, desire, and contemplation.

Paola graduated in Fashion Design but chose drawing and painting as a way to communicate her ideas. She works from her studio in São Paulo.


Ameema Saeed

Ameema Saeed is a Pakistani-Canadian immigrant, who lives with a chronic illness. Passionate about social and cultural issues, Ameema is an avid bookworm, and loves to write. Her writing interests currently include poetry, and personal essays revolving around her lived experiences; and exploring the relationships between people, their bodies, and the world around them. Ameema hopes to one day write fiction, including Young Adult novels, and short stories. She loves bad puns, good food, and Beyoncé, and is proud to manage storytelling events at With/Out Pretend. In her spare time, when she’s not reading books, she loves to talk about books (especially diverse books, & books by marginalized authors) on her bookstagram: @readwithmeemz. This is her first published piece.