Based on the Audre Lorde quote on my welcome page, you may have gathered that her wise and poetic words are a source of inspiration for me. So much so, that a handful of her titles are in my library. Lorde's reflections on power and eroticism deeply resonate with me. And her mantras pertaining to self-care and loving oneself regularly come to the forefront of my mind.
With the culture of vanity that is hyper pervasive in 21st century society, self affirmation can sometimes seem like a performance for other people. And in this line of work, there is an immense amount of pressure to present in a manner that is highly polished and as close to perfect as possible. But who gets to shape these ideals we are all compelled to strive towards? I have some thesis-length thoughts... perhaps for another time.
I find it important to take an occasional step back and check-in about how I see myself, even beyond the gaze of those who are closest to me. Learning to accept and love myself more thoroughly has been challenging. For much of my life, when it comes to body size, I've been either what would be considered "in-between" straight and plus sizes, or the smaller end of full-figured.
When flashing back to the naive days of my youth, I wouldn't have known that there was supposedly something wrong with moving through the world in one body versus another. These lies were taught to me by people in my immediate environment as well as ingrained at every turn by mass media. And I've spoken briefly before about misconceptions some hold about African descended people and their phenotypical features.
In addition to physical attributes, this worthy/ unworthy dichotomy also shapes perceptions around non-physical identities such as sexuality. I can remember the period in my life, almost down to the exact month and day, when I decided to embrace my kink and BDSM related desires, or the reality that I wasn't heterosexual. These moments of relearning were equally empowering and frightening. But I realized that if I wanted to live a fuller life and love myself on deeper levels, I had to release at least some of the stigma I was holding onto. Both pertaining to acts that I had engaged in thus far and even fantasies I allowed myself to entertain in my own mind. To preserve the integrity of the internal labor I've put forth, it is very important for me to interact with those who have expansive understandings of beauty and love.