When you look at me, what do you search for?
When you touch my skin, what do you hope to feel?
When you think of me, what do you remember?
I am a person not an hourglass.
I am a person not silk.
I am a person not a fantasy.
In our world, there is no one woman. There are women; individual women, unique women, different bodies carrying different souls created to mirror the creator’s person- the lover, the helper, the caretaker, the teacher…
Tell society to redefine them; they are more than makeup, false lashes, padded bras and hourglasses.
Tell the women to disbelieve what they have been taught; that they are not beautiful until their waists are thin and their hair stretched. Tell yourself you are above the insecurities that bind you tight.
You might have heard this before. Perhaps, you might have said it yourself but do you believe that you are enough? Do you really believe that there is nothing to be ashamed of?
Virtually every woman has some part of her body she is insecure about. It may be the ears they’ve called “big” or the extra full lips or even your muscular tummy. Let me tell you about “Beautifulness”. It is a feeling that accompanies belief in you as a carrier of a great measure of beauty. The moment you believe that there is beauty in you, you will glow with confidence and people, either intentionally or not, will believe you as well. Being beautiful is an art. You study yourself, you discover what is unconventional about your body (note that I did not say ugly), decide whether or not it should stay (In conformation with the lifestyle you find ideal for yourself), discover the features that are most striking or gorgeous and hone them. Do not dwell on your imperfections; accept them, treat them like patients that get better with care and tell them they are beautiful anyways. That is why those muscular “hot instagram moms” are called sexy while Obioma the maid who isn’t half as muscular is called “yam legs”. It is in the impression and expression.
I have been there. That world made up of me, standing alone with mesh walls surrounding me. Mesh walls made from wires of insecurity and lies that I had listened to and accepted as my story. But one day, I kicked down the wall and walked away. Today, those liars come to me with the truth, the truth I had already told myself and believed. They come seeing the real me, the one I want them to see because in their eyes lie the reflection of how I feel about myself.
I am not tall and while it used to be an instrument to taunt me years before, I now get compliments about being cute and portable and confident because that’s exactly how I feel about it. It is funny how I have a lot of people call my lips sexy and full and blabla when in secondary school, it was the first thing I’d get teased about. For some reason, I have that kinda athletic body that people go to the gym to get. So while, it’s not perfectly shaped like an hourglass, I remind myself that it is beautiful and strong and is the only vessel that’ll hold my insides together so gracefully. I remind myself that mannequins and magazine covers are not bodies of people but are illusions that cause people to neglect how unique each feature is as it marries the rest of the body to produce you. Your body belongs to a person; one who has habits, problems, feelings, goes through childbirth, gets stressed out and craves the wrong pleasures sometimes. So give it a break from all that shame, neglect, strain.
I saw a picture that showed off different body shapes for ladies; the figure 8, A-shape, I-shape and T-shape. Each time, I told somebody that there were anything but the “8”, they got mad or a little withdrawn or even defensive. They’d rather be told a lie than believe and see the truth about themselves. It was funny to me because as soon as I saw the picture, I knew I knew where I fell and I was happy to point it out.
Sweethearts, never be embarrassed because you’re not busty or as hippy as the hippo in Madagascar (the anime). Never feel lesser than the girl beside you because your eyebrows are too full; I mean, why do they line them to be wide if they wanted their brows scanty or empty? Never apologize because your ears are too wide apart (whatever that means). Care for your body without hating any part of it. Conceal what needs to be concealed, enhance what needs to be enhanced, reveal what needs to be revealed and even eliminate what needs to be gone but never beat yourself up over any part of it. Be comfortable in your skin. Go without makeup sometimes; plainness doesn’t bite. Take walks in comfortable clothing; waist trainers and padded bums are not your birthmark.
Please note that I am not against healthy lifestyles and makeup etc. On the contrary, they are the tools that help us stay beautiful but be sure that you indulge in the things in the things you do for the right reasons and that you’re not burning yourself out or living a fake life just because. In fact, find out what beauty and work out routines you ought to adopt, the kind of clothing that suits your body type, the right way to make up in accordance to your unique features and embrace a healthy diet.
It would not be complete if I didn’t tell you that as God’s beloved, you are a reflection of him. Do not insult that privilege by conforming to anything lesser than that. Do you know that your love for God reflects on you? You cannot love God wholeheartedly and despise any gift he has bestowed upon you. In other words, in loving God, we learn to love ourselves the right way and manifest his fullness here on earth. There is a depth of wonder you reek of when you perceive yourself in the light of God’s word. Being an African woman can ONLY be a gift. Any limitation you see is the scheme of the devil targeted at reducing the content made available to you by God to manifest his glory.