TW: Victim blaming, sexual assault
When my parents were at work, my brother and I were sent to stay with my aunt. She lived next to a middle school, and my 10 year old self loved to sit outside and watch the middle schoolers walk past. I wanted to be just like the girls I saw: beautiful, curvy, fashionable, well-liked. My aunt used to tell me not to get any ideas from those “fast tailed girls”. Those girls who twirled their braids around their fingers while talking to guys. Those girls who the grown up men who were picking up their our daughters looked t a few seconds too long. I was to remain a modest Christian preteen.
My body didn’t allow for that. I was wearing a C cup by the end of elementary school. My chest and wide hips gave me unwanted attention, especially from men. They walked down the street with their groceries and stopped to look at me jumping rope. A few stopped their cars and asked me how old I was. I received negative looks from women in stores because of my cleavage. I became one of the fast tailed girls.
When I was sexually assaulted, I didn’t tell anyone. I was afraid I would be labelled as “fast” by my family, or treated like I provoked him with my body. My body was never allowed to be mine. It was always viewed as dangerous. Like I was candy and all men around me had an uncontrollable sweet tooth.
The Fast Tailed Girls myth hypersexualizes Black girls and contributes to victim blaming. We need to create open spaces for discussion about sex, sexuality, and bodies with our young girls. Then, we could help end the silence of sexual violence.
Last night at the party, a girl I didn’t know came up to me and started dancing. She kissed me and called me beautiful. I’m always afraid of people calling me beautiful. The first time I remember being called that by someone outside of my family, it was in middle school. The guy who called me beautiful lost a bet and was punished by having to pretend to like me and ask me out. Other times, the word was used by men to try to get me into bed.
I thought about how often I call other women beautiful. I was in love with a woman once. I thought about how little I called her beautiful. I ended every conversation with “I love you”, but I rarely told her what I loved about her. I never told her that I saw the stars in her smile or heard God in her laugh. I rarely called her beautiful, and she rarely called me beautiful.
Though I’m focusing on how much love I’m receiving, I need to also focus on how much love I’m giving out. Actions may have more weight than words, but if I could tell her I loved her every day for two months, I could have told her that she was beautiful.
I was looking at my okcupid profile a couple of nights ago. On my “I think a lot about” section, I wrote down “love and how to give it”. I wrote that when I first got an account a couple of years ago and that statement still holds true.
I told a girl I liked her. I was so proud of myself for putting myself out there like that. She said she already knew I was interested (wtf I literally met her last week was I that obvious?). I’m pretty sure she’s not interested, but she said I had nice boobs and put her head on my shoulder.
Women are confusing
My motto for this year (and possibly the rest of my life) is “advocate for yourself. I was going to just call it “self-advocacy” but that’s a term used in the disability rights movement, and I’m not about taking other people’s words.
i first heard the phrase “advocate for yourself” at rugby practice. The forwards were running drills, and even the vets were tired. One of them asked to woman who was running drills if we could get water, and she ok-ed it. “Way to advocate for yourself.” the woman said. That stuck with me. I have the ability to change my circumstances if I don’t like them. I can advocate for myself.
I’ve started to do that in all aspects of my life. If there’s someone I’m interested in, I ask them if they want to get dinner. If I don’t like something in my community, I work to change it. If I feel like I have something to contribute to a conversation, I speak up.
I was afraid of my voice. I used to sing quietly in a cappella rehearsals. I mumbled at protests instead of proudly chanting. I was afraid of the power in my voice. I suffocated it, trying to put out my own fire. Now, I embrace it. My voice is unique and deserves to be heard.
I’m going to keep speaking out and keep meeting up with cute people until I find the courage to tell them I’m interested xD
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us."- Marianne Williamson
Like Ms. Badu said, I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit. Here it goes
an apology letter to my body
1. You were never a mistake. You were fearfully and wonderfully made. Every stretch mark painted on. Every hair planted perfectly.
2. The beautician told you that you needed a relaxer because your hair wouldn’t sit down. It was too unruly and maybe if you straightened your hair you’d find a nice black man. Your hair is magnificent. It breaks combs, doesn’t allow people to idly run their hands through it, no you cannot touch it, it is defiant.
3. Your hips were too wide for him to wrap around his narrow mind.
4. After you put the razor to your skin trying to cut the ugly out, you got scar tissue that made it hard to cut again. You are tougher than the blade ever was.
5. She kissed your scars and called you beautiful. You wondered if she was lying.
6. Thunder thighs is not an insult. Your thighs are powerful enough to shake the earth.
7. She wasn’t lying.