Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Awry Ideals Of Beauty....

Its independence day and I'm wearing a fraying jeans, a tank vest, my nappy hair and no make up. Just my NAKED innocent face, the way I honestly love to wear it, when the cameras and the prying eyes of expectations aren't flashed in my DIRECTION. I'm inspecting myself in the mirror.  And a thought crept, holy crap.  I’m beautiful!!!

This is not a thought I have all that often. I mean, yes I hear how attractive I am....most times I'm not sure if it's the 36 DDD blinding them, the mischievous GLINT I always have in my eyes, the rounded hips most of them never even notice cos they are blinded by my humongous girls. Hahahah, or just the way I guard my mystery...

On the contrary, I have spent years whole-heartedly believing that I’m somewhat short and plain....Okay, not plain. Just regular! And this new Chubby, somewhat UNATTRACTIVE extra weight I gained from having Ray has definitely taken away a bit of the little CONFIDENCE I had.  But there’s a small voice inside that wonders if maybe that’s not quite right.  That mumbles about subjectivity, and the awry DEFINITIONS of words.  It has always spoken very quietly, but lately it’s started to get louder.  It asks me, when exactly did I start believing this?  

Where did these thoughts come from?  Why do I BELIEVE them?  Why did it matter that an old friend I hadn't seen in ages....Screamed, "OMG, Alex, you are so fat!!!!".... Whaaaat?!!! Is he crazy? I'm only a size 12, yet I've been made to feel like I'm a size 22, and a woman that size couldn't even be beautiful. Hian! Or that my ex boyfriend's definition of the perfect woman was a lean size zero, dark skinned tall looking nubian queen with tooth gap, thigh gap and a protruding CLITORIS. And I didn't even come close....Hahahah.

All I know is, those messages are now so ingrained into my head, that I can no longer tell which ones are real and which are not.  Not for sure.

Once, when I turned Eighteen,  I asked myself.  Why do you care about being PRETTY anyway?  Your VALUE as a person has nothing to do with how you look.  You have friends who think you’re funny, loving, interesting and creative.  Numbers on the scale, do not define you.  Why does it matter so much?

It shouldn’t.  But mehn, it does.

What is it going to take before the things I see and the things I know align?  What will it take before the right PERSPECTIVE sinks in, so that it’s not something I know in my head and say glibly, but I feel in my heart and believe?

Where did these thoughts come from?  I’m not sure, but I don’t think it was from any one place.  I suspect that my teenage self gleaned them from the PORTRAYAL of characters in books, films and conversations with friends, while listening to older women – our mothers, aunts, caretakers – talk and worry about their own APPEARANCES, in ways that suggested we were never good enough because, perhaps the men were never SATISFIED with what they saw.  

So often that recently, instead of saying, “You look pretty”, my mother will say, “You look like you’ve lost some weight.”  because to her, the two are synonymous. And from learning the SOCIAL conventions that require women to deflect compliments they’re given, and to tag insults to themselves unto compliments they give to others (“You have such gorgeous nails – mine could never be that pretty”) Hahahah. You dig?!

I suspect that those ideas came from all these things.  That they settled in the corners of my mind and grew, fed by my own insecurities.  They grew because I allowed them to fester.  Because I allowed imperfect people dictate how I should feel about myself and I didn't fight it. But how do you fight them when they’re all around you?

Our ideas of beauty are shaped by our cultural context in ways both overt and subtle.  We all know what’s HOT and what’s NOT changes dramatically from place to time.  And the REALITY is, I'm way shorter than the average model,  my thighs are too big, and my face is a little too round to fit the beauty ideals of this present times.  But that doesn’t make me ugly. It just makes me different. And what makes you different, makes you beautiful.

So to the people who love me and the way I think, I will always be beautiful. It is with this NEW philosophy that I have liberated myself from the fallacious ideals of beauty and emancipated myself from mental SLAVERY. And now that I'm an independent woman, independent of the MYOPIA of others, I choose to look at my Country, as we celebrate Independence today as a beautiful portrait. Whilst some may feel there's nothing to celebrate at 54, compared to other developed nations, beautiful in their own eyes. I refuse to pay attention to the negative parts of our image but the POSITIVE elements that still makes us one people, one nation. 

As I started the process a few weeks ago to drop just a few pounds, not for anyone's APPROVAL but for my own sake, on my terms.... towards my own GOALS. I've also chosen to stop complaining about the flaws and do the little I can to make myself and my country a better place, whether it is through my engagement with #4NL, #4NN or my support for the "The Slum Invasion Project 2014". For though we aren't perfect, we are still one beautiful people....And as a great philosopher once said. "There is no BEAUTY without FLAWS"

I know this.

And I understand it better NOW. 

As I stand in front of this mirror, looking for the usual DISDAIN that creeps up my face when I spot a new blemish not willing to fade....I realise this is exactly what we do to our country, constantly looking for who or what to BLAME, whilst we smear our beauty with so much shame. Despite it all.... Here's me Wishing Nigeria, A Happy 54th Independence Day....Just like the stubborn little acne on my face.... I know, these trying times shall soon pass away. 

For FLAWED as we may be, I still find my country seductively beautiful. And I love it....Warts and all. Hahahah.

Have A Wonderful Wednesday Lovelies! Keep Your Souls Beautiful Always! Kisses!!!

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