As I stood in front of my TV screen last night, watching Lupita N’yongo deliver an emotional Oscar speech, I thought to myself, “Who makes the rules about beauty? Who gets to choose who is beautiful and how is one added to the top secret beauty list?”
I grew up in an area where most people believed that beauty involved being a certain shade (light skinned). I was lighter than many others around me, but I still did not feel beautiful. “Why?,” you ask. Well because another layer of the rules of beauty was having curves. You see I was stick thin. Rail thin. Like a tooth pick. I saw nothing wrong with my natural God given small stature, but apparently my society thought I needed more meat on my bones. You see a woman must be round like the number 8, not straight like a 1.
Next was hair texture. No one liked what they saw on my head. They thought my hair was not dark enough, too thick, too coarse or “too kinky.” I saw nothing wrong with my mane. In fact, I was proud of all the hairs that sprouted atop my head. I was happy that my hair stood tall and proud, but the people said, “It is not good enough.”
Then came adolescence and the acneic skin. I had acne on my forehead, cheeks, chin, and even on my back and arms. The people also poked fun at me. They said, “Why do you have so many pimples?” They even called me “Pimple paradise.” Now that one hurt. I would stare at my face for hours on end hoping that one day I would magically have skin smooth as rain. But that has eluded me to this day.
At some point I was deemed too tall and too flat chested. At another point it was announced that my butt was too big for my stick figure body. After having my first child, I was then too chesty and too big. Boy was it exhausting. But I choose this day not to let the critics, the commenters, the spectators and the jesters define who I am.
Yes, I still have acneic skin. Yes my legs are still considered “too small.” My mane is still wild and marches to the beat of its own drum, but no one else is me. No one else can waddle like me. No one else has my same shade of skin. No one else giggles on command like a 2 year old. No one’s features, when combined with my brilliance and creativity, will be parallel to me.
I let the people talk. I let them spectate. As they laugh at me and as they pinpoint whatever flaws they think they see in me, I am busy building a life of joy. I am rising to take my place. Let the people in your life talk. But NEVER let the people’s words define you. You should see beauty in yourself because you are unique and can never be replaced.
Live life. Look to no other to tell you who you should look like. You define who you are and what journey you choose to go on. Let spectators spectate, but keep charging on as they watch you reach your pinnacle.
Have a beautiful Monday boys and girls.
Inspired Thinking Momma
P.S: Smile when the spectators nit pick. It makes them mad.