attraction

Race, Beauty, and Hope

The predominant culture suggests normative black features are not attractive. Because of this in the dating realm, black women finish dead last. OKCupid has a study affirming this. While, it is not explicitly stated: “men find black women unattractive”. My assumption is that they don’t. Rounded noses and darker skin are not particularly “in”. Full lips are currently “in” but as a trend. Like thick brows are “in”.

In the past seven days, I have had two conversations with a friend about race and beauty and attraction. They are hard conversations. Not only for the content, but we are distinguishable by both race and gender. Which is not bad, but often you have to explain things that may be inherent to a person who was black and/or a female. Though difficult, I find the conversations refreshing. I process things through them. This blog is not so much about the feelings of unattractiveness or the conversations had with my friend. However, both serve as a black drop to something significant that took place on a warm Saturday afternoon.

I was sitting my Houston mom’s hair salon playing with my cousins. Which is a sight. I’m an African-American and my mom and cousins are white. She takes a break from doing hair. I sit in the chair and my 12-year-old cousin begins pampering me with a massage. It was legit. My 9-year-old cousin comes over and begins to look at my hair. She politely asks if she can touch it.

“Yes. Thank you for asking.”

She continually says how soft and fluffy it is. Fascinated, she gets some Morrocan oil and places it on my hair. Over the course of the next 20 minutes, I have my shoulders and arms massaged, my hair oiled and brushed, and my looks affirmed in a really special way.

What makes this interaction so distinguishable from others, is that my sweet cousins whose skin is so much lighter than mine, think I am beautiful. Not for a black person, but as a person who God created. While, they are old enough to know we look different, there was not this elitism in them. I sit on the couch and my 9-year-old cousin snuggles up with me. She looks at my lips and calls them pretty.

I wish my lips were bigger like yours.” She pouts trying to make them bigger.

“I think your lips are perfect for the face God gave you.” 

The rest of our time is spent snuggling on the couch catching naps at 2 in the afternoon. I don’t know how these sweet children learned to love diversity at such a young age, but it gives me hope.

There is a coming day where there will be no narrative of black women being unattractive. Because our biased expressions and representations of beauty will disappear. Humanity will understand that our racial diversity, our various nose shapes and hair textures, our crooked smiles and pearly whites, our physical differences scream of a divine Creator who loves and revels in variety and in diversity. Who loves the porcelain skin of Scandinavians, the almond eyes of Asians, the raven black tresses of Native-Americans, the warm skin of Latinos, and the rounded noses of African people. I felt that hope today.

I felt that hope today.

It was beautiful.

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Weighing In

I finished Whole30 yesterday. I capped it off with my favorite dessert: melon trifecta (watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe). Today, I simply attend work meetings and have the rest of the day to myself. When, I wake I will go to the gym, where I will be able to weigh myself….and I don’t know why, but that thought scares me.

Thanksgiving, after months of a poor girls diet, I stepped on the scale and weighed more than I ever had. Two hundred and sixty-five pounds. Instantly, I hated every pound of myself. I didn’t want to look at myself. I couldn’t find anything lovely about me. My face was hideous. My body horrendous. My esteem demolished. Every insult hurled at me about my looks resurfaced. Fat. Ugly. Cow. Behemoth. I clearly saw the faces of all the boys and girls who made me feel so small. I began believing that my weight was the reason no man was interested in me. No one wants to date a fat girl. I remember telling that to myself as a teenager. I told myself that yesterday.

I am scared to step on that scale, because I know that a massive part of me still places such deep value on that number. My beauty is in that number. My value is in that number. My hope is in that number. I don’t even know what that number is. There was no set amount of pound I desired to lose. All I know is that a number dictates so much of how I feel about myself and I hate it. I really do hate it. I hate that a decade past adolescence, I still have similar fears. I hate that I believe no one wants to date me because I’m fat and because I’m fat, I’m unattractive. I know this massive body positive movement going on, but even if I am positive about my body it does not mean I am perceived to be more attractive. Most of all, I despise that I work with teenage girls and still struggle with this. The young women, I serve, are so beautiful. It is easy to see their loveliness, but so hard to see my own…..

This is an area where I needs God’s grace. Because ultimately, I choose to surrender my worth. I choose to operate from a lie…even if feels true because of my empty relationship history.

God, silence all these voices. Silence me. Remind me my worth, that it was ordained before my birth and that is has nothing to do or say. When, I am slim or weigh 310 pound remind me that my worth is not assigned by man, but by God. You make me worthy.

Today, I step on a scale and pray all I see is a number.

Fat to Full-Figured in Fifty

I am smart. I love knowledge. I love in a manner in which its application reigns. What is the purpose of a theory if its application is never used. Even on days when, I say dumb things, I never lose confidence that I am smart. I am comedic. I don’t know if has come in my twenties or has always been there, but I love laughter and making people laugh. To share joy is beautiful. Joy is beautiful. Even on the days, when, it is hard to smile, I never doubt I am funny. I am loving. There is a well running deep within my soul from which I pull my love for others, and the Almighty Himself supplies the water to love people. This well runs so deep that my service to others is my mission field. Even, on days when it is hard to be around people, I love them.

All these beliefs lie inside of me. They are a part of my person. However, as I look at my eternal, I question much. Am I beautiful? Am I pretty? Am I attractive? Do I repulse men? I don’t know. My answer wavers. On good days such as today, I am sure that I am lovely, but there are times, when I can’t look in the mirror. There are times, when I take a photo and immediately I want to hide it or delete it. I don’t always feel good about my appearance. In fact, most days I don’t. However, I refuse to be a woman who whines rather than wins. So, I am doing something about it.

February 7, 2015 I will be attending a casting to be a runway model at Full-Figured Fashion Week (FFFW). I’ve been following FFFW for about three years. I love it. I remember being sixteen and sitting across from my mother at Copeland’s and telling her about my desire to model. It was lovingly shot down and for good reason at the time. I am older now, and I want to do it. At least I want to try. I don’t want to be a coward, and hide. I don’t want to hate my body anymore. I want to embrace it and love it and steward it.

I have 50 days until, I the 7th of February. Until then, I will be busting my ass to get my body from fat to full to figured. I am going to document this journey on my tumblr.

Right now, I am 265 pounds. I am 5’10”. I was on a diet of fast food for months. I have now cut out fast food with the exception of the occasional salad from Chick’fil’A. I am trying to go on walks daily and on Friday, I will begin a two week free pass at a gym where, I will lift weights. See, I know what I need to to, but I have been to scared to do it.

See, I am not doing this so men think I am attractive. I think the personality characteristics I have are enough for men to like me. I am not doing this to be popular or to have people tell me I’m pretty. I’m not even doing this to be in FFFW. I am doing this to attack a lie. I am doing this for me. It’s not a just a weight loss thing. It is a taking care of my hair. Going to the doctor. Getting my car fixed. Receiving a massage. The same way I love and nurture my spirit, soul, and mind is what I must do to my body.

I am not building an idol to me; I am keeping the temple in order.

To those who oppose me: COME AT ME.

To those who are with me: PRAY FOR ME.

Because either way, I am doing this.

Today, I took this picture, and just felt lovely.