We had a lot of material this week, which made it hard for me to digest and put exactly into words what I was thinking and feeling. I just kept getting the sense that black women were being reminded time and time again that they were invisible because they were not being recognized by someone else. As exhibited in Aretha Franklin’s song “Someone Else’s Eyes,” the forgotten impoverished black women in the aftermath of Hurricane, and the video “A Place of Rage,” black women were the quiet back bone in the civil right movement. Sister Citizen brings up the notion that girls are socialized to be feminine and do things to attract boys in order to obtain favor and value. So I wrote this piece because it brought me back to times that I felt invisible, and I felt the need to change things about myself to be loveable. Whether that be silencing myself, presenting myself more friendly instead of argumentative, changing the way I dressed and wore my hair, being the only one expected to cook and clean, trying to prove my intelligence to others. All of these things to get the approval of others and still never fully loving myself.
When did I stop loving myself? When did I decide that there were conditions on what would make me loveable? I would pretend the parts that they didn’t like about me didn’t exist or needed to change: denying myself. All to satisfy a need to be a desired. Because even if I didn’t want me at least someone else would. And I keep on lying to myself. I am hurting and bleeding as I walk and no one sees it.
I want to hide. I want to jump out of my skin. I want to not be me anymore. And I run into this same problem again and again. Why can’t I be satisfied with being me? I haven’t accepted the pieces of me that do not fit the criteria. Because I don’t know that girl. I have tried my best to forget about her. And the moment that she tries to surface. I suffocate her; I shut her up. When I see the hurt in her eyes. When I hear her garbled screams. I ignore her. I avert my gaze to something more manageable. But what would happen if I acknowledged her presence? Could I get a better sense of me? Could I really love the things that I hate about myself? My weakness. My own self-doubt and lack of confidence.
Who is there for the girl who cries out her pain to the sky? I want to know who is there for her. Who loves her loud laugh and broken smile? Who is looking for the pain in her eyes, and the hurt in her hallowed cheeks? Who is ready to embrace her scars that no one else can see?
If not another soul would take on the task, she would. She stares into her reflection, head cocked to the side. The light bends around her aura. And she is glittering beauty. You would have never guessed it. That she wasn’t perfect. But she was amazingly human. She was full of life, and side by side, her sorrow and her joy revealed her true beauty: Her ability to persevere. Resilience.
This is an ode to her solid amour of heart that she not only wear on her sleeve but her whole outfit. Because her love was a weapon that fought back so many demons that came to devour her, and steal her up turned lips and her gentle kiss.
This is an ode to her crystal stare that pierces through the dark and cloudy nights were discouragements and regret try to overtake her.
This is an ode to her hands that hold, and mold, and break, and mend the things around her.
This is an ode to her mind, with all the synapses that spark and flare over her cortex, give her a unique thought and point of view. From the uncharted territory of her inner most thoughts, I see her heart.
In that one look, she decided she could potentially fall in love with herself. Maybe not all at once. But one piece at a time. Not just simply accepting the things about her that she could not change. But to really look at herself and honestly believe with every microfiber of her being that she was indeed a beautiful woman.