3 of 3: Self
"I don’t think I am always able to see myself the way other people do."
…And so after we talked about sex and about love and the relationships we’ve had with other people the conversation turned to the relationships we have with ourselves.
As a young woman, I feel like a positive self-image is something that is very necessary, but also something that is very delicate. And as a young, BLACK, woman the stakes are even higher. Every day, whether or not we realize it, we are shown images of how other people view our bodies, how they value (or don’t value) our bodies, and the expectations they have for our bodies. But how often do we sit down and have intentional thoughts and conversations about how we see our bodies for ourselves?
All of my friends are beautiful people both inside and out - and I don’t say that just because they are my friends, but because it’s true. My bff Fay, is pretty much bomb. She’s the chocolate to my caramel, the coffee to my cream, and everything in between. Smart, determined, tall, chocolatey, slender, and poppin in all the right places, she has jokingly referred to herself as “Ebony Delight” and rightfully so. She walks around with this air about her that gives the same message as the little Apple emoji in the red dress: I’m the shxt and I’m gonna prance around so you know it too. At lunch, it was this air that led my other bff Jameelah to tell Fay that she needs to teach a class. A class on how to summon your inner bad bitch, because it seems this is not a trait that comes naturally to everyone. (I recognize that not everyone uses the word bitch or sees bad bitch as a positive thing. Buuuuuut in this space and in this context I do. Shrug.)
Jameelah, too, is a beautiful woman. Also intelligent, with an undying ambition, tall, slender, and poppin in the right places. These are all things she knows and is told on a regular basis still she confessed, “I don’t always see myself the way that other people see me.” A contradiction in a way, but an honest one. So then we began to talk about self-concept, and confidence, and how for so many people these can be tied into how we look, or more accurately how we want to look. When those two things aren’t aligned, it takes a toll on the way walk through the world.
I for one know that on one level I’m very confident. I am able to say that I am a woman with great people around her, who is loved and who gives love, who is intelligent, and compassionate, accomplished, and driven. On paper I’m (almost) everything I’ve ever wanted to be, and actively working toward those goals I have yet to reach. But in the mirror, that isn’t always the reflection I see. It’s almost as if confidence can can live a double life, and I’m not sure that’s the way confidence is supposed to work.
We have to be careful about picking ourselves apart based strictly on what we see, because at the end of the day our Self will be the only person there to put the pieces back together. I recently discovered a video of a little girl (http://youtu.be/qR3rK0kZFkg) who I’ve grown to admire. Her name is Jessica and she gets up in front of the mirror everyday and recites her daily affirmations: every thing sees about her self, loves about her self, and knows to be true.
So from here on out, I’m trying to be a little more like Jessica. Honoring myself for what I am instead of what I’m not, keeping in mind the idea that the mirror isn’t always the most accurate reflection and letting that inform the way I navigate the world and prance through my days.
Earlier I said that after a lunch with two of my dearest friends, I left feeling loved and encouraged and thankful for honest conversations. I also said I wanted to document and share some of those conversations and feelings, and so the sharing continues…
2 of 3: Love and Relationships.
"You need to find someone who can handle your love."
In between my salad, J’s pasta, and Fay’s sammich we talked about our past, present, and possible futures. We recalled some of the CRAZY and hilarious stories that would appear to only happen to us (but likely happen to other people too):
1) The white man you met two hours ago trying to take you to Iowa story
2) Those times I made out with a stranger and enjoyed it stories, followed by that time said stranger became a boyfriend story.
3) That yooooo I swore he was my soulmate saga
4) The forever funny the Caricature story.
5) The I want to make him three meals a day story
6) That girlllll I had to take off work story
7) The all I can do is pray story
8) The that shxt was wack feel free to grab some bacon, but you gotta GO story
9) The Voyeur story
10) The I love him, but his pain can’t always be my pain story
Amongst all of that we were so easily reminded that just as every person is different, so is every relationship and every love, and to a certain extent even every lust.
Occasionally we might find ourselves experiencing a little bit of what I’ll call “relationship envy” but that is a dangerous place to be. At one point during lunch, two of us found ourselves saying to the other “aww I wish I had that,” or “I miss having that,” to which she quickly responded “No you don’t.” She didn’t say this because she isn’t happy in her relationship, or because her love isn’t abundant. To the contrary, she said this because she knew you 1) should not assume what works for other people will work the same way for you 2) cannot overlook the fact that EVERY relationship has it’s ups, and EVERY relationship has it’s downs.
My mama always says that the goal isn’t to find the perfect person, rather the goal is to find the person perfect for you. And while that may be easier said than done, at least everything in between will make for a good lesson and a good laugh. Take for instance my favorite three-part series (all coincidentally about the same man lol): The Fitted and The Netflix tales, and The Wait Are You Homeless? Story.