About two weeks back, in a moment of spontaneous body appreciation, I posted a picture to this account with the caption, “When you have loose skin, but still feelin’ like a queen 👸🏼✌🏻." Facetiousness of my playful emoji-using IFGAF-yolo-ing tone aside, I didn’t think twice about the caption before I posted it - cavalierly publishing what I presumed would be received as a lighthearted expression of my emerging body confidence. A few hours after posting, however, a follower shared a comment offering up a thoughtful critique of my language. “*AND still feeling like a queen,” she wrote, “be careful where you use the word ‘but.’ Be both. Don’t be one in spite of the other.” As someone who usually attends to her writing with painstaking care and fully subscribes to the cultural power of language, I won’t deny the prickle of embarrassment I felt for being called out. I was shocked by the recklessness of my oversight. The difference between “and” and “but” may seem slight, but – as the insight of this follower’s feedback reveals - the inferences behind their usages emphasize massively different implications. Having loose skin BUT feeling beautiful perpetuates an implicit understanding of beauty and loose skin as mutually exclusive. Having loose skin BUT loving yourself anyway maintains an assumption that your body, your PERSONHOOD is somehow still peripheral to what’s considered “normal,” “palatable”, or “appropriate.” Where I intended to demonstrate acceptance, I was actually pleading for exemption. Having loose skin AND feeling beautiful – feeling valuable, feeling worthy, feeling enough – doesn’t call into question the compatibility between my loose skin and the ability to express a strong sense of self. “Having loose skin BUT,” however, immediately implies a clash. It’s incredible, the subtle power simple words have to shift the way we think about ourselves and perceive the world around us (notice the impact that these two little seemingly innocuous three-letter words can make !!!!). Thank you to this follower for reminding me just how much language fucking matters. It’s a cognizance that better serves us all.