I don’t consider myself particularly exceptional. I am good at the things I am good at, but there are several others which I am not. I believe this is true of everyone. I have gathered through various interactions with humans of all kinds that I know exactly how important I am to this world. If I am exceptional in any way it is because I have an understanding of my purpose, and worth and I am openly committed to them without apology.
I was talking to Mari last night and she made a remark about her being envious of my ability to be so unapologetic. I guess it’s kind of like Lorde said,
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
The idea was and is particularly interesting especially after watching the documentary Light Girls. There was a section about the beauty industry in which the moving target metaphor was used. Perfection is unattainable and it is the idea that we are always imperfect yet on the cusp or within an arms reach of perfection which sustains this 300billion dollar industry. It is in the best interest of capitalism and our economic structure that there are less of me. Quite honestly, I could care less. Let the economy topple if it in any way depends on my belief that I am defective, insufficient, and in need of external repair.
I am not completely immune to beauty as a whole. I love make up and dressing well, I believe in fashion as art and liken designers to great artists. However, my worth neither begins nor ends with anything that is added after I leave the shower. My beauty is not circumstantial.
I find it doubly interesting that most women I know would adamantly argue otherwise. They would tell you but look closer, see my flaws? My giant pores, my full hips, my crooked smile, my frizzy hair. And I always assure them that I am seeing them. And all the things they’ve pointed out, and they are still beautiful. It’s a hard sell.
It blew my mind the first time I learned about internalized homophobia. People within the lgbtqia community berating themselves due to internalized ideals of
heteronormativity heterosuperiority and an in general lack of tolerance for their own being. What I would later find out is that it didn’t stop there. There was internalized racism. Internalized classism. Internalized misogyny. And in my most recent discovery, internalized fat bias. In fact, external critique paled in comparison to the toxic dialogue happening within the folds of a woman’s own skin. We are down right nasty to ourselves.
Sometimes my friends say things out loud about themselves that makes me cringe. One because I know they likely believe it, despite the “just kidding” disclaimer. And two because I imagine the words are repeated silently and more frequently than is good for the soul.
I wish I could impart to them and to all women who struggle to see or believe their own pricelessness that it is as easy as a decision. My entire life changed when I decided to believe that I was worthy. That I was important. That I was unique and of value to the whole of the universe. That I was beautiful. That I was talented. That I was here for a reason bigger than my critics could ever comprehend. That I neither drew breath nor sustained life from the opinions of others. And that all I would ever dare to blossom into had seeds in my spirit already. Perfection is a myth. But the best version of myself is who I decide to be right now. And that target moves. It develops grows and expands moment by moment day by day. Yet I know that with each exhale I am enough.
It seems like overnight my passion for women grew. It didn’t. I just think I didn’t have words for it. But it was a woman who first revealed to me my own power. Well I suppose it was a few women. My mother. My grandmothers. And my former co-worker who I convinced to treat herself to a fancy Victoria’s Secret bra. After which she would tell me I inspired her to be kinder to herself and to own that she deserved tone treated well BY HERSELF. I’ve been hooked on that feeling of liberating women from their own muck since I was 18 years old.
And she called herself a feminist, not because she hated men–she did not–but because she loved herself and sisters too fiercely to be called anything else.