I love women. Every woman ever. On Earth and in the galaxy. We are the sustainers and creators of life. All of us are phenomenal in our own unique, special, magical way. So please believe me when I say that it is not my intent with this piece to express preference or priority of one type of woman over another, but rather raise awareness and appreciation of the “types” of women who are not as often identified as being the beautiful beings that they are: The Fluffy Girls. The Box-Shaped Girls. The Fluffy AND Box-Shaped Girls.
We are teased with half-hearted exclamations of body positivity that encourage us to “love yourself just the way you are” and then, fourteen and a half minutes later, we are body-shamed. Likened to SpongeBob and busted cans of biscuits. Fatally diagnosed with Noassatall as we walk past a cohort of Shape Judges, and then forgotten about as the last few chuckles fade in our ears. We didn’t have enough hip-to-waist ratio for the hip cliques’ criteria. We are invisible in music video vixen world. We see our distant fluffy cousins strategically displayed like rare, courageous aliens in magazines, but only if the proportions are hourglass. We are left hanging by Casper the Vain Ghost after Tinder date meet-ups and stood-up on holidays. Texted at the midnight hour. Advised that we should love ourselves more than our weight implies. Frowned upon for not “covering up” when we do love ourselves. Told to calm down as we boldly strut while wearing our stretch mark stripes on stunning, smiling at the haters. We have to actually be qualified for jobs and promotions received. Wishing we had the privilege of being championed everywhere simply for achieving “ideal genetics” that we did not contribute to, earn, or work for at all. Compensating for our disadvantage with accomplishments and/or personality, if we’re lucky. This is not every Fluffy and/or Box-Shaped Girl’s experiences, but the experiences of many.
As a result, it always surprises me when people tell me they admire my confidence. Probably because it’s an act most of the time, an ego defense mechanism, a protest. A shedding of years of ingrained self-hatred from the outside, insecurity. But, what I “lacked” in “conventional beauty standards, ” I had a purpose surplus in when it came to intelligence, passion, wit, and creativity (my confidence in those qualities is real).“Beauty is entertaining, depth is impressive.” I cherished and worked with what I knew I had, preferred being soul food rather than eye candy. With this fiery heart, wicked brain, and dope soul, I had much more substantial things to do than to be weighed down by a longing to be something as basic and shallow as “sexy,” anyways. Objectification has always appalled me. Not only because I had never fit the praised mold, but also because I preferred the appreciation of more elegant, deeper qualities.
So, when bae was supposed to be taking a picture of me as I modeled on a big, brown, stone by the isolated beach shore, (crystal clear turquoise blue-green ocean waves softly slapping and clapping and frothing against the rocks as my installed Marley-textured curls sashayed and swayed and bounced in a dream-like wind-trance dance with the breeze), but captured a slow-motion video instead, I was horrified. After all, I was “supposed to” have lost 30lbs by this trip to the Bahamas. Had partaken in months of one-day or one-week diet consistency and working out. Yet here I was, the same. Disappointed. Ashamed. “Slow motion is for girls shaped like video vixens and ‘good big’ thick chicks,” I thought, embarrassed. So, in the spirit of rebellion and committing to doing the things that low-key scare the crap out of me and feel uncomfortable, I decided I had to post the video on Instagram for the whole "My Followers World" to see.
And it felt AMAZING. I was free. It was as if I was seeing myself with a whole new set of eyes. I wasn't hiding anymore. I couldn't. The girl in the video was just being her candid, untainted, liberated, beautiful self. She had not seen the video or pics yet to overanalyze, crop, and criticize herself. And just like that, it was as if some spell that had been cast years ago was immediately lifted. I looked GOOD! I looked, dare I say…SEXY! I didn’t feel the need to take away from, negate, or tarnish this beauty in any way. I had posted the video and not been arrested for it. What had I been afraid of!? I envisioned my insecurities being swept away with the ocean waves, and they were. Because greatness is on the other side of our comfort zones. Because of desensitization therapy. Because sometimes the camera of someone else’s patiently admiring pupils, or someone else’s reluctant display of vulnerability guide us in recognizing our own beauty. Because there’s a subtle, different kind of “sexy” in being intellectual, sultry, and sensual that I want to have the courage to wear with pride more often. Because I have to love me, even when I’m a work in progress, and I want it to be real. You deserve your real love, too.
So, this piece is for every girl who has ever felt overlooked, who has ever been made to feel that her body is not worth worshipping, who has had to work twice as hard for recognition and appreciation because her body does not fit the mold of promoted beauty standards, and who has had men and women try to steal her magic because they felt like she wasn’t deserving of acknowledgement and respect. I encourage you to take another look in the mirror next time. I encourage you to compliment yourself the next time you even THINK about possibly subconsciously whispering some negative self-talk while looking at a picture or video of yourself. This piece is for every girl learning to love herself, unconditionally. And this piece is, particularly for the Fluffy Box-Shaped Girls. Everybody knows that boxes are for carrying gifts! You are the light. You are the inspiration. You are magic in its most solid, untampered form. Shake that spine proudly, girl! You are beautiful.