attractive

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.

 

This is Why I’m Fat

It was the first time, I had stepped on a scale in 7 months. The last thing I remembered was weighing 240 pounds. While, obese I was content. I was close to 200 pounds. I could drop 40 pounds pretty easy. 265 pounds. I couldn’t believe it. Then, I looked in the mirror and saw it. I saw every single pound of it. My flaws became so apparent. My skin looked aged and old. There were new stretch marks, I had never noticed before. The hairs on my chin overtook my face. My clothes became tighter. Hindsight allowed me to see all the outfits I had worn recently and how I looked like a balloon in the Macy’s Day Parade. I noticed my stomach bulging over my jeans. I suffocated. I feel helpless.

My cognitive weight loss plan oriented itself around these thoughts: “no wonder guys aren’t attracted to me”, “I am so huge”, “there is no way I can do missions being this size”, “I hate myself”. It’s so easy to begin disliking oneself. I pulled out a notebook and began scripting how I was going to lose this weight, do’s and don’ts, meal plans for the week, how much water I needed to drink, and a fitness regimen. I didn’t fall asleep until 2AM. Nonetheless, even with the best laid plans, I felt helpless. I feel like I am going to fail and continue getting fatter until one day, I surrender the idea of ever being seen as beautiful by men or women.

I woke up the next morning dead set on eating healthy. I wasn’t going to go for seconds. I was not going to eat carbohydrates. I am giving up soda. I will not east fast food. I am exercising. I am going to do this right. I will lose this weight. I failed today. I began today with a workout and ended it with a bunch of dumplings. Which makes me feel like even more of a loser.

However, I am learning not to trust so much in my strength and place a little less confidence in myself. I can’t lose weight of my own power and my own will. I am not strong enough for it. Food is a stronghold and an idol. I have never not known what it was like to be anything but fat. As a child I was fat. Teen fat. Adult fat. My weight has followed me so closely. Too closely. I eat not to feel full, but to simply feel something. As each word comes out, I recognize this food issue is more tied to a lack of trust in the Father to have my needs met.

I guess I need not start with a meal plan, but a prayer.

Verse of the Day

God,

Too heavily do I lean on my own understanding. What do I even know O Lord? Have I fashioned this form? Have I orchestrated one molecule in my body? Nothing. No. And No. But rather than humbling myself to You and asking for guidance, I take it upon myself to fix a problem. I can fix nothing, for I am the one who destroys. Only You bring life, Jesus. Only You can restore what these human hands breaks. And Jesus, I am breaking myself. With each meal, I am attacking the vehicle You allow for my soul and spirit to be mobilized in. Father, forgive me. I am not worthy of Your grace. I am not worthy of Your mercy. I am not worthy of this body.

Lord, I cannot do this on my own. Countless times, I have tried and failed to lose weight. And with each failure, I deny that You fashioned me as beautiful. I doubt that You look down on me and call me good. I need Your Holy Spirit to quicken me. Please stir my desires toward loving You fully. Direct me towards worship Jesus. Lord, I don’t worship You enough. I don’t love You enough. I don’t acknowledge how vast and wonderful You are enough. As my spirit worships You, allow my body to fall in line and follow suit. I desire to be with You. I desire for You to be my everything. You are my Living Water and Daily Bread.

Holy Spirit grant me discernment on how to do this. I don’t want a weight loss plan. I want a lifestyle revolution. I want my body to be one, You are able to send anywhere at a moments notice. Make me more aware of when I am hungry. As I go through sugar withdrawals teach me self-control. I know what You think of me, but please remind me of Your thoughts towards me. Enrich my time with You. Father direct me towards a gym membership where I am encouraged by those around me. Teach me what to do and what classes to take and how to love my body and steward it as an act of worship to You. Lord, help me be faithful to carry this to completion.

God please raise up some people to walk with me through this and keep me accountable in this journey. Lord, thank you for the way You have already placed me with someone who is setting the pace before me.

God, I love You. This is not a blog, but a permanent prayer. You are magnificent and wondrous and marvelous. I can not tell you that enough. You have been so gracious to me. I am not worthy of the manner You have blessed my life. I am lowly and You are high and lifted up. You sit on Your rightful throne above and rule and reign over all creation. Whether we choose to acknowledge You or not. Yet You see and understand every single word I write. You know the weight and the depth of each letter. You know the inner workings of my heart so well. You know where my greatest need for You lies. You know my sorrow and my joys. You know my fears and my future. You know how I will look. The way You know me scares me. It is scary to be known so intimately by God. You know the mysteries that remain in me that haven’t even been revealed to me. To You be all glory and dominion. What am I that You are mindful of me? That You turn Your ear towards the laments of a wayward child. Lord, I love You.

Be with me tender sacred Spirit.

Amen