This morning on my way home from taking my youngest love to school I saw a status on my timeline about women, booty pics and them having no other assets... see what he did there. I flipped! Needless to say I'm still a bit reactionary, meaning something happens or someone says something I may not agree with and before I even take a deep breath to think about why I'm even bothered to begin with, I snap. This is happening less often each day (thank you yoga and meditation) but it still happens and what I'm learning to do is just write out what I'm thinking to help me put things into perspective before I begin creating evil with the swirl of negative thoughts in my head. So, here's what I first wrote in response to his haiku:
Just because you become sexually aroused when looking at pictures of a woman's body and feel dirty doesn't mean she's dirty for posting them.
Instead ask yourself, "Why am I aroused?"
Then ask, "Why do I feel ashamed for becoming aroused?"
There's nothing wrong with her and there's nothing wrong with you either, sexual attraction is normal. (This too is a slippery slope but guarding your thoughts and paying close attention to them will help) Stop demonizing your body. We all have them and none is more beautiful than the next. They just are and whatever emotion you attach to that is your own responsibility not anyone else's. She doesn't have to cover herself because of your shame. There's nothing to be ashamed of anyway.
This was a hard truth for me to accept. Less than 2 years ago I would still tell women they needed to cover themselves to be respected and went heavy into the whole "respectability politics" around being a woman and being black as well. Glad all that changed. Waiting for others to catch up and accept this truth without passing judgement and becoming pissed off has been difficult which highlights my own attachment to this concept as I redefine what it means to be a black woman. Having honest conversations about it helps but getting people to stop deflecting and be critical of themselves is difficult.
- Note to Self 😬
If you feel the need to be pissed ask yourself why before you begin typing. You shouldn't be upset that I support others being comfortable in their own skin and just because that's all you see when you look at them doesn't mean that's all they have to offer. That's just all that YOU care about.
Now of course I carried it through my day rather than just saying my piece and walking away, to the point that I couldn't even focus on my mother's words as we headed out to Reading Terminal. As I focused on my thoughts harder and harder I heard some truth and the more I thought about it the more my anger towards him and the entire male species made sense. What really happened was his poem shed light on one of my biggest insecurities and my mind did what it does best; deflect the problem to protect me... here's what I wrote in response to my own criticism:
Right thought. True and authentic thoughts. Pure, clean thoughts... free from the fluff our minds manufacture.
I FAILED royally today and it wasn't even 10 am yet.
Practice, practice... practice.
Someone posted a status about women taking pictures of their bodies and that being their only asset. Instead of taking it at face value my mind went reeling and quickly flooded with all of my insecurities and fears.
The status wasn't even for or about me but because I take pictures of my fresh out the shower body daily it hit me like a ton of bricks. I don't post my pictures, no matter how poetic they look, because I hate the predatory attention they conjure. It always makes me want to curl up in a ball both figuratively and literally. I love my body, I worked for it and I care for it daily. From what I cleanse it with to what I eat and drink for it to be at it's best, it is shown a great deal of love. However I'm still learning that I don't have to hide it or feel ashamed when over-sexualized parts of it show. Religious doctrines, traumatizing encounters with the male species, family and friends obsession over the way in which it curves, etc. have all contributed to the feeling that I shouldn't love my body. I didn't ask for it and have spent majority of my life actually hating myself for having it, my body has always been a source of shame and disgrace for me. I never asked for this body but nonetheless it's mine. I can love it, I can be proud of it and I will not cower in fear because of how others will interpret this love.
This only matters to me because I'm still asking for permission to affirm this to myself and even worse I'm asking the very people who planted the seeds to begin with. Hoping that as my views of myself change the world will agree and all can be well. But that's not how this works though. So, back to the drawing board that is my mind I go.
Like I always say, "There is no demon outside that doesn't already live inside." Reflecting on why something triggers you is SO important. You can't change what you don't accept responsibility for and I can't accept responsibility for other's thoughts and actions therefore I can't change another person's view of me. I can, however, learn to accept myself and be unapologetic in the ways in which I want to love myself. When I fully accept that and own that for myself, other's opinions will roll off of me like water on my oil upped tush after a long hot shower (insert big smile here). So, off to battle my demon I go.