My 29th birthday was this week and it prompted me to do some self reflection. This is the first time in a long time I don’t feel any pressure to be something I’m not. In fact, this is the first time, to my recollection, that I am completely uncomfortable and in tune with my truth and it feels great.
It wasn’t always like this though. I remember literally praying for the day that I was old enough to get my belly cut off. I remember practicing poses for pictures in the mirror holding my belly in while simultaneously trying to make a cute face. I even remember making myself throw-up for a short time, until my mom got hip and started following me to the bathroom after dinner.
It didn’t stop there. I remember wanting to be lighter skin and have “good hair.” I remember making a point to let people know I was only half black, which is a complete lie. I also remember telling my white friends that I like to tan in the shade because you tan more evenly… *palm to forehead* yeah, I know.
But I still didn’t realize how badly I was treating myself.
As time went on, I tried to become more comfortable in my skin but there was still a lingering pressure that I held on to from various sources. Through my senior year of high school and the first couple of years through college, that pressure enticed me to make some not so smart decisions and to continue the subliminal abuse I was conditioned to.
It wasn’t until about 6 or 7 years ago that I started to explore who I really was and began to accept certain qualities I have. From there I started to realize who I am, and as a result, what I wanted. Once that energy started flowing in me, I started to attract more positive energy (friends, associates, my now fiancé). These new relationships fueled me with support which allowed me to gain a more positive outlook, not only for me and my appearance, but also in life.
You see, being body positive isn’t just about being fat and accepting it. Shit, it isn’t even about size. It’s about making a conscious decision to understand how you feel in your body and learn to love it for no other reason than its yours and you’re you. If you don’t attain this acceptance, you allow society to shape you–and why the hell should society get to tell you how you feel about you?! Moreover, how in the hell would they know?
Things are so different now. I still struggle with speaking kindly to my body (literally–yes you should verbally speak kindly to your temple, regularly) and I often have to remind myself that the size on my pant tag doesn’t make the outfit look better, but now when I tell myself those things, I believe me.
My journey is far from over. Starting this blog was my commitment to myself to continue to find love and peace in my body and through my culture. It has been a long road thus far, but I wouldn’t change a thing about me, my journey or my body.
This is the first time in my life that I am uncomfortable and in tune with my truth and it feels great. Happy 29th Birthday to my fine self!!