we live in a world obsessed with beauty. for women, our self-worth can easily become wrapped in our ratings on the beauty scale. it affects our social status, career advancement, financial security, and even perceived intelligence. that bit about beauty being in the eyes of the beholder is a fallacy women of color are forced to choke down as society dodges questions about who owns the only permissible eyes through which we are allowed to gaze.
oh the eye. it doesn’t see my deep brown skin, kinky hair, and round bottom as classically beautiful. oh the eye. it doesn’t see my wide nose, full lips, and thick thighs as classically beautiful. oh the eye. the bible says if your eye offends you, pluck that sucka out! when it comes to how we perceive and embrace our own beauty, it’s time to take up arms. getsta pluckin!
for my 36th birthday, i wanted to celebrate in a way that affirmed exactly how i felt about my fine, beautiful self. and i wanted to share that experience with other beautiful, black women i’m privileged to count as friends. so we spent our night with the talented artist mickalene thomas, and her rhinstoned, larger-than-life portraits of all the beauty that is the black woman. it’s a celebration we don’t see often in any form of art. so it was more than refreshing to hear from the woman who has been accused of having a preoccupation with beauty.
we need more people to have a preoccupation with our beauty. but mostly, i need you – black woman – to get preoccupied with your beauty. not in a superficial way. i’m not talking about dressing up your outward with make up and designer labels. i’m talking about staring at yourself in the mirror; lights on and clothes off, and falling in love with every curve, dimple, scar, roll, and perceived imperfection you have. i’m talking about loving your body as it is, not as you wish it to be, not as it used to be, but how it currently is. i was shocked to hear that most women never take a look at their vagina. we’re taught to be so sexually repressed that even glancing at our own anatomy brings shame. reclaim your body. reclaim all the things that make you woman. you are the origin of life. that is powerful, and beautiful.
look yourself in the eye and say out loud, “i am one beautiful woman.” i’m talking about getting in touch with your true essence, the you that God always intended for you to be. i’m talking about making peace with that woman and allowing her radiance to shine through the circumstance that surround you.
own your beauty! embrace your beauty. celebrate your beauty. we hear a lot of garbage on a regular basis about how black women aren’t this and black women aren’t that. that’s a hallelujah chorus you don’t need to join. instead, i need you to silence that foolery. create a sanctuary for yourself where you can commune with your beauty. my make-believe bestie, india arie, sang a song about having a private party and celebrating the woman that you’ve become. trust me, you can never celebrate your journey too much. and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you can be introduced to your beautiful self. hello beautiful.