What’s your favorite cosmetic’s brand that I should try out next?
Black Muslim Girl
What’s your favorite cosmetic’s brand that I should try out next?
My Confusion In New York: Week One
This marks week one down as a New Yorker.
I am clearly not one. Yet. Or maybe ever. I’m still on the fence about this whole big move thing. I mean, you never really know if you are actually going to like something until you dive in and then figure out that you absolutely hate it or love that shit. Or eh about it.
Although I don’t necessarily miss Detroit, I don’t want to actually be here as of now. New York is an unfamiliar place. It’s busy and loud and busy and lots of funny smells. By funny smells, I mean shit. It sometimes smells like shit.
When I used to day dream about the big city, I always used to think of it like in the movies. It was very fancy and very Caucasian. Love stories and opportunities and things just seemed quite easy.
That it not the case. It is not as easy as the movies would make it seem. Everything is close but so spaced apart. Most of my friends live in other boroughs that are about 45-minute subway rides away. Although me and my weak knees are semi-capable of trudging down hundreds of cement steps to push through crowds of bodies on the platform, it seems like so much to do just for an hour and a half of social interaction.
I am used to the ease of hopping in my car and driving 15 minutes to unexpectedly drop into my friends’ house and have snacks and talk shit about people we don’t like.
Here is not the same. They have no idea of the people that I don’t like. They don’t know shit about me at all.
Which is a bit isolating. I just want to put my old friends in my fuckin pocket and bring them here. But, they have lives and kids, I guess. And, there’s not much room in my pocket to thrive.
Another thing is that everyone is busy all the time here. That’s what I came for though, so why hadn’t I expected everyone to carry that same dose of grind? Detroit has a very laid-back type atmosphere that I have grown used to. New York does not. It’s a city on steroids. Everyone is on go-go-go mode.
People keep saying that I will get used to it, but will I?
On top of that, I am being semi-kicked out of my new-ish apartment after only being moved in for three whole ass days. I know that one day I will look back on this major inconvenience and laugh about it. As of now, this is no laughing matter. I am pissed. The time that I could be spending looking for jobs to pay rent, I know have to find another place plus find gigs to pay rent.
I am already tired of thinking about it.
And!!! I don’t have the credit score or income to qualify for most rooms. So, there’s that. Welcome to NEW YORK! The land of shady landlords that kick folks out after only a few days of residence.
The last thing that I will complain about and update you on would be that I do not belong. And not in that sense, I do belong in some way or another, but I don’t have a core group of folks that got my back or can shoot my photos or help me do random shit late at night.
I am starting from scratch. Just that sentence made me doze off. I have to start over again building my core people. It took me damn near years to do that in Detroit and now at 31 years old, I gotta do it again. Clearly, I like abuse because NYC is gnawing at my leg right now.
Baby steps, girl, is what I keep telling myself. Because if I don’t, then I will pack a truck with all my shit and dart right back to Detroit. Where it is bland but at least I know people!
The future is so unsure. Seems like nowadays things—people are so uncertain. Some of us are up then some of us are down, and we just fluctuate from being up and down then down and up again. I’ve noticed this since I’ve recently been deemed as whole ass grown adult that life is fluid. And, that at the end of the day we all have choices—whether we think we do or don’t. You have a choice and so do I. Doesn’t matter how bad or good something is, you can say yes or no. Perhaps, even maybe.
I remember in my teens and early 20’s that I longed for someone to tell me the “right” way to do life things. I wanted people of age to give me the answer, that golden truth of success and belonging in this world. For the most part, the people who knew nothing about me or wanted me to fall in their content with “whatever I’m given” footsteps told me what I should do, who I should be. I rebelled because if life looked anything like what they were handed, what they accepted then I wanted no parts in it.
For the few folks that I regarded with high esteem and respect, they would always tell me something along the lines of “create your own opportunity”.
I’d grumble internally, angry at the fact that they hadn’t given me the answer that I so desperately wanted, that I needed. I needed an adult to tell me what to say, how to think, and most importantly tell me what my voice was. What it sounded like. Where to find it.
“Create your own opportunity, Leah,” the voices of mentors echoed.
I couldn’t comprehend what they meant. I looked at the shit I had—which was zero and found it impossible to create something viable from nothing. These adults must’ve had it all wrong. Clearly, they’d been set up much more lucratively than I. I was never going to be the person I was looking for.
I still never stopped asking myself as well as others about this so-called self-made opportunity.
Although hard-headed and rigid in my thinking, I’ve got to give credit to myself, I have always been curious. Curious to know how stories and narratives came to be. To exist. I’ve always been curious to know why some of us have and others have not. What characteristics does one have to possess to be on the other side of greatness.
To me, greatness was always something I’ve dreamed of, yet hadn’t known exactly what it entailed. But, I always knew it’d be good for me to experience.
I complained a lot about the resources I didn’t have. I’d explain my ideas to different artists and friends, and they’d be like, you should do it. And, I’d always reply, “I’m Black, I’m fat, and I’m a poor woman. You’ve gotta have resources to pull that off.”
There were times in my life where I hadn’t had shit. Like nothing. But, looking back, that’s not fully true. I remember one time, I had upwards of ten calls per day coming from bill collectors. My bank account was in the negative. Overdraft on top of overdraft. The phone calls were getting to me. I couldn’t pay them no matter how bad I wanted to. So, they continued to blow my phone up.
“I’m stuck,” I cried. As the tears rolled down my cheeks, I got up and opened the door.
I returned to the couch, sniffling and watching the clouds go by. I was angry that I was so educated and had no job. And, that the jobs that were paying were 8 and 10 dollars an hour. Which would only put a dent in my piling debt. I was mad that my husband at the time could only afford to hold down the rent and nothing else. I was mad that my mom was mentally ill and that my daddy wasn’t there. That my family hadn’t reached out nor was financially able to lift me out of the shit show that I’d created trying to educate myself in America.
I cried and cried and cried some more.
After that, I asked myself a question: what can you do right now for free instead of crying and feeling sorry for what you don’t have?
I answered myself: I could probably write. I mean, I do like writing stories and I do want to be a serious writer one day. I could write for practice at least.
So, I wrote.
What else can you do for free? I can post my stories on Instagram.
So, I posted things on Instagram.
There were fashion events and networking events that I could meet people at. Some free and some not. For the ones that weren’t free, I emailed the organizers and told them that I had no money but would like to attend. 90% of them would send me complimentary tickets.
I created content and emailed people. When that batch was a fail, I created more things and emailed it to more people. Most of them were rejected or ignored. I had my times where I was like fuck this opportunity shit. I need a real job. My bills aren’t going to get paid from “opportunity”. Which meant that in-between jobs that I absolutely loathed I created content and emailed people.
My thoughts were that if I kept doing this that one day someone would be like hey! She’s not only talented but diligent. For the most part, I would hang onto the hope that one day I’d get the yes that I was looking for. I knew that I was good, but I needed others in my fields to validate my talent on a larger scale. I couldn’t do it alone.
When I tell you to create your own opportunity, I am telling you something that has been said to the folks before me and will be told to the folks after me until the end of time. You might not get it right now and maybe you will not understand it, but there is so much wealth in that simple statement.
Opportunities are everywhere, all around us just floating around. Many of us don’t see it. Many of us miss it. Many of us allow them to pass because we are too scared that we aren’t qualified. That we will make a fool of ourselves. We get that “what will other people think?” syndrome going on.
But what would happen if you just did it anyway? Learned as you go. Grabbed that opportunity by the arm and molded it into something cool and great. Something with purpose.
Stop waiting for an opportunity to stumble upon you. Go out there and capture one.
Believe it or not, I am very scary. A scared person. I am afraid of spiders—well, any bug really. I am afraid of failure as well as success. I am scared of myself. The person who I may become and perhaps not like in the near future. My scariness stems from several aspects of my life. One is my obsession with control. I am the kind of person who has to try and control everything and anything. I feel naked without some kind of control. An unwanted and uncomfortable vulnerability arises from letting things flow. I don’t want things to flow; I want things to go the right way, how I want them to go. On top of that, I am overly over-analytical. The type of person that if something doesn’t go as planned, I have an internal freak out. The world will end. I will die. Like seriously, dead.
Over the years, I’ve learned how to have internal freak outs, instead of outward ones. People don’t know how to deal with the outward ones. Then they start thinking I’m crazy. Which isn’t too far from the truth anyway…
So, how does someone like me do what I do? To get where I am, where I am standing, one couldn’t possibly be so rigid, so afraid, so rule-abiding. They’d have to be fearless, able to flow like water, able to keep calm, strategize in healthy ways.
Let me tell you a story of how someone like me took a leap, a bound and dived into the unknown.
I was married. Content as a Muslim wife. Or so I made myself believe. I was in hella student loan debt and working a job that I hated making a sort of good wage. I’d stopped writing stories for years. I was angry most of the time, floating around. Wondering was this what life was like for a girl in her mid-20’s.
I didn’t know what the hell I wanted. And, life wouldn’t give me a chance, a break to explore the possibilities. What more was out there. I had to be this way for work, that way for my husband, and this way for the community. And that was it. That was my existence. Being everything for everyone else and nothing for myself.
I wasn’t allowed. I hadn’t allowed myself that luxury. If I stayed in line, then it’d just all work out. Doesn’t it always work out in the end?
I started getting heavy back into writing: ordering all the books on editing and story-telling and even using my own money to take creative writing and literature classes. I made a promise that whether or not I get paid to write stories, I would never abandon them again. I was obsessed with stories. I wrote damn near every day. I wrote when I woke up and I wrote at work and I wrote when I got off at night. I wrote and studied and wrote some more.
My work, although getting better, wasn’t going anywhere. No one was reading it. The point of a writer is to have a reader, an audience.
One of my lit teacher’s had his MFA in creative writing from some college in Vermont. He taught and wrote. I could do that, I thought. I was about 30k in debt from my undergraduate degree and because of that, I planned on working a dead-end job, pay off my debt then pursue a graduate degree in creative writing.
Two years passed. I was still in debt and no where near putting a dent into my student loans.
What have you got to lose, but more money to Sallie Mae? You aren’t getting any younger. Your work isn’t being read. The worst that can happen is that this creative writing program is bullshit and you waste 40k…Or you can pursue this and something great happens. But, you’ll never know until you try. Writing is your passion. Fuckin do it.
So, I applied. One rejection from a university in Michigan.
My feelings were hurt. I was defeated.
Try again. Try another school out of state. How will I get there? You’ll figure it out.
I submitted an app to two universities and was accepted to one in Pennsylvania. I was ecstatic. But, also so very afraid. I hadn’t known anything about Pennsylvania. Other than a lot of white people lived there.
When I told my husband, he wasn’t happy for me but instead bothered. “I don’t think a Muslim woman should be going that far away from home.”
“I have to do this.” I reassured him. “I’ve gotta try.”
The semester started in one month. Due to my job, I wasn’t able to attend.
Will I ever get a chance to go pursue my dream? I thought.
I’m going next semester. I don’t care if I have to quit that job. I figured out how to finesse the rules and was able to get a chunk of time off work to attend the winter semester.
The night before I was supposed to fly out, I started freaking out. I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t know the faculty or the students or the campus. I was a girl from Detroit. I called my sister and told her that I’d made a huge mistake and that I wasn’t going. She said, “You are getting on that plane. You are going to that program.”
I remember walking into class the first day, stomach grumbling with fear. My flight had been delayed and I was the last one to arrive. I arrived to a class full of white faces staring back at me. I gulped. What had I done? I just signed my death wish. They’d hate me. I’d hate them. They wouldn’t get me. They wouldn’t understand my multicultural weird ass writing or stories.
Those nine days surrounded by the most Caucasian writers and artists who were nothing like me was one of the most transformative experiences that I’d ever had in my life. I’d never been around white people like that before. I’d never been around anyone who was so different from me before. That experience of understanding that we aren’t meant to be around the same people all the time, that there is so much more than the little bubble I grew up in, confined myself to. There was a whole ass world out there.
On our last day, I was so overwhelmed by it all, the connections that I made, the courage that I mustered to even go, and how deeply I loved and was passionate for the art of stories, that I cried. I cried hard.
One cannot truly live without leaping into the unknown. Letting go and flying without knowing if you’ll be able to figure out how your wings work. Or if they will work when you need them to.
Do what scares you the most. This is such a simple concept, but its by far the scariest. No one wants to wander into the dark without a flashlight, but you have to have faith, hope that along the way you will find batteries and a flashlight and then a compass then a map and maybe a guide that will lead you to a place where no one has dared gone.
A woman put pig emojis under my exercise video last week. Another person commented: “I didn’t know land whales exercised.”
I find these two comments ironic. Don’t most people who care about how heavy fat people are encourage them to go to the gym? Don’t they encourage them to get active? And, then—and only then—can they live a fit and free and thin life. I was exercising for health, and still I was body shamed. Guess large people can’t do anything right. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
So, if this is the case, then why do we try so hard to fit that mold of the “good fatty”? The “agreeable fatty”. The fatty who is always trying to show others that they are indeed trying their hardest to be smaller. Shrink themselves into an oblivion. Accept Susan’s excruciating diet plan once and for all.
Seems like people who are deemed the outliers—body wise, ability wise, color wise—are always being made to feel like they could always do more to “fit in”. And, if they aren’t striving to fit the status quo then they should be made to feel shamed at every waking moment.
A revolution has begun. Where the shame has been shed like the emergence of a fat ass, bomb ass butterfly. I made a decision to stop carrying other people’s shame on my back, on my chest. I stopped cradling it like it was my newborn baby who needed to be nurtured. I plucked that shame bare, chopped it up, seasoned it, dropped that bitch in some batter and fried it.
I’m not carrying the shame others feel about my body being big and not having a thigh gap or not being able to squeeze my fat into designer fits.
This is me. Like it or not. But shame is something I will no longer carry.
With that said, I’ve found power in eating publicly. And, not just eating healthy in public, diet coke and a nice cut of salmon with greens but eating anything in public: pizza, cake, ice cream, a bucket of chicken. Whatever.
I hadn’t always been able to do that. I remember going out to eat with my thinner friends and sitting as tall as I could and making it a habit to suck my stomach in. As they ordered burgers and fries, I’d sit there starving, slowly and deliberately sipping on a diet coke with light ice. Proclaiming to the foodie universe that I was not hungry. I was not hungry. Not hungry. At all. Hunger is a mindset. A mindset that you could rewire.
I’ll never forget this thin white woman giving me unsolicited diet advice on Facebook: “The longer you just sit with your hunger, the faster it’ll just go away. Like you won’t even be hungry anymore if you just let those hunger pangs past.”
Sounds like an eating disorder to me. But, what do I know? *Hunches shoulders*
And, she’s passing it on down, spreading it just like other nasty habits that are unhealthy and degrading and problematic.
I’ve been told to eat salads instead. To not go back for seconds. To cut out sugar and cut out dairy and cut out air. LOL. I’ve been told that fat people eating makes them want to vomit. That it’s unattractive. Unappealing. Been called pigs and cows and pig-cows and fat bitches.
So, what do I do? I create a high-fashion spread…including food. McDonalds to be exact. Even though McDonald’s is eh. Fat people have been associated with this particular fast food restaurant for decades. I dive head first into any and all stigmas in order to challenge the way our minds are set up.
Some big people eat unhealthily. While others eat healthy. Some of us are in-betweenies and eat very balanced. Some thin people eat unhealthily and remain thin. Some eat healthy. Some are in-betweenies. Gasps. Just like big people! Everyone deserves to be able to nourish their bodies how they see fit. Without the shame of other’s gazes. Without having to become closet eaters. Without having to starve and wait till they get home. Without developing eating disorders.
If you feel disgusted by someone eating, then turn your face in the opposite direction. If you feel the need to degrade someone who is eating, then pinch your lips together and mind your own business. If you feel the need to spew unsolicited diet advice, then don’t.
Worry about your health and your lifestyle and your 9-5. Okurrrrrr. *Tongue pop*
That is all.
Because I’ll be traveling all week, I just wanted to drop in and show you my latest work from the summer. I was flown to the UK, not once but twice, to shoot commercials for Simply Be UK.
Ya’ll know that I started my blog back in 2013 because I wanted to fill a gap. I wanted to show the world that beauty didn’t have a standard. It had no age, color, or religion.
I’ve always expressed my identity through fashion.
I was the Muslim girl who would wear black nail polish and black lipstick to prayer on Fridays and get shocked and disapproving looks from other Muslims. I was the girl who would cover her eye lids with glitter and stick flowers in her hijab while friends either made fun of me or told me that “big girls were always looking for attention”. I was the girl who always wore what she wanted on her face and body despite what people said.
I look back at all the people that talked shit about my makeup and clothing. Called me a clown and other discouraging names. They are either in my inbox asking for styling advice or now watching from the sidelines as I rise *sips tea*
Had I listened to their ridicule, had I wavered and changed who I truly was to please them, I surely wouldn’t be standing here shooting whole ass commercials 😂. I want to let you know that you don’t have to be an Instagram model to feel confident with your body. You don’t need a small waist, long weave with baby hairs laid, pale skin, clear skin, narrow nose, big booty, or long legs to feel beautiful.
You can start right now.
What makes your feel beautiful?
So, this video went from 22k views to after me sharing it having over 130k views in over a week. Ya'll are just amazing.
Watch it and keep sharing and liking and commenting on the video because in numbers we can change narratives. They aren’t going to take us seriously unless we show them that we can pull numbers.
For a hot minute, I was getting these major features and interviews back to back. There were so many that I couldn’t keep up. I remember feeling validated. I was poppin *Tongue pop*
Then they suddenly stopped. I wasn’t the “it” girl anymore. I was “normal”. Probably never gonna see that much shine again unless a sex tape surfaced 😂
Who was I if I was no longer validated by huge media outlets? Who was I if I wasn’t poppin on the net?
Y’all know that I am constantly checking myself. Why? Because I’m not trying to slip and slide back into my past self. I refuse to be a slave to my old habits because I’ve worked damn hard to level up.
I had to remember my why. My purpose. I hadn’t started my journey to seek validation for empty likes or a thousand retweets. I started because through my self discovery I could help others rediscover themselves.
I’m delighted to tell you that I have been featured in Brut and they made a whole ass video of meee. Here’s one of the nasty comments: “If it wasn't for Brut we would have never heard of this person and we'll probably never hear from her again.”
I thought it was funny because you’ll definitely be hearing from me again.
Go comment nice things on it 😎
Watch it and here and lemme know what you think:
I always get asked, “Leah V, how are so comfortable with being transparent with your life?”
Growing up, I went from being very outspoken to quiet and withdrawn to being kinda sorta outspoken to shutting up and only saying the ‘right’ things to where I am now. And, even then, I still don’t say everything that’s on my mind. I’m getting more and more comfortable with each passing day.
The reason that I’ve been through these waves of shutting up vs. not shutting up was because people always told me to be quiet.
My father, ahem, my sperm donor, because real fathers raise their children, used to always call me a ‘broken record”. Yes, he was an adult and I was a kid, but he was a liar and I knew that early on. So, in order to keep him in check, make him have accountabilty, I’d remind him of the things he promised to do. I’d give him follow up calls like a damn office assistant at the age of 8.
“You ain’t nothin but a broken record,” he said to me over the phone one day. “You always repeatin yoself.”
I was young. I didn’t have a response. But, my feelings had been hurt.
So, I stopped talking.
I noticed that when I expressed my feelings or dislike of something, people would get angry, offended, and say, “You talk too much.”
So, I stopped expressing myself and kept it all inside.
No one wanted to hear what I had to say. Nothing I had to say was of importance. And, honestly, no one cared.
I ran away to books. That way I could communicate more effectively. I could live vicariously. No, they weren’t real people, but real people sucked.
Men hated me the most. Especially Muslim men. They still do actually. HA! Before I knew what feminism was and the women’s rights movements, I was an advocate and hadn’t even known. When, I’d see something foul or oppressive towards girls or women, I’d speak out. I’d be called names like “hoe” or would hear phrases like “She doing too much” and the best, “she needs to shut up because she don’t know what she’s talking about”. And, because I was married and didn’t want to rock the boat or embarrass him, I pick and chose my battles.
Again, I was quiet.
If you think about it, for hundreds of years, people have always wanted women to shut their mouths. To be quiet. To stop complaining. To disregard their truths and traumas. To get over it. The truth is a hard pill to swallow. And, it’s easier to control someone who is willing to bury the truth. Lock it in a nice fancy box.
Other than women, do you know who the world usually loves to have shut up? Women of color. It is ingrained in us to not speak up. Out of fear that we won’t be believed anyway, because we are less than. Out of fear that there will be retaliation if we dare to open our mouths. We are called liars. We are dismissed. Even by our own.
When other people’s truths are celebrated, called brave, our voices and stories go unheard. Our truths remain silenced and bottled.
There comes a certain point where a person gets fed up. Fed up of being called a ‘broken record”. Fed up of being told that you don’t know what you are talking about. Fed up of not being believed and afraid of repercussion.
After twenty-nine years of being silenced, something marvelous happened. I got divorced and the hypothetical tape was ripped from my mouth. It hurt like hell, don’t get me wrong, but the sting was only temporary. On the other side of fear is greatness. And, my fear was being told to shut up.
I made a decision: not anymore. Not one more day will pass that I fear to speak my mind. I might not have all the answers, none of us do, but I know what I am talking about. I am not crazy, like some of them like to call women who speak their minds. We are not crazy. We’ve just transcended the oppressive societal norms that seek to silence girls.
Let’s keep the conversation going: has someone ever tried to silence you? How’d you get over your fear and start living in your truths?
Because my platform is so diverse, I never want to feel preachy or overbearing. That Muslim girl who forces her religion on you. I’ve met Muslims who are constantly trying to force their beliefs on others and it becomes tiring and honestly, annoying. So, I’m very careful about what I share when talking about my spirituality.
Since we’re in the holy month, I’ve shared some stories about my relationship with Ramadan over the past years and how I tackle it now.
I had no idea that people, non-Muslims and Muslims, would be so interested in fasting and my experience with Ramadan. The conversations were heavy.
I talked about how everyone is so happy when Ramadan comes around. You’ve got the Ramadan Mubarak memes and the smiling faces in pastel hijabs and the religious Facebook statuses with ayats from the Quran.
Ramadan is such a perfect time for perfect Muslims to fast and everything just seems so easy.
No one talks about how Ramadan can be not so easy for others who are converts who have been banished from their families for accepting Islam or people who don’t live near mosques or other Muslims who have to break fast alone every night. No one talks about Muslims who are having physical ailments and feel low because they are unable to participate in Ramadan fully or how a woman on her period has to constantly defend her reasons for not fasting to the Haram Police. No one talks about Muslims who have eating disorders, triggered by fasting or the ones suffering from mental illnesses. Like me.
Last year, when my divorce was still fresh and my mental health at an all-time low, I told my friend that I wasn’t participating in Ramadan. I hadn’t seen the point in it. All I saw were fake people trying to be holy for 30 days then become the same sucky people after it was over, after they were done playing super Muslim.
She told me that it was my choice to participate or not. But, then she added, that my Ramadan wasn’t for other people. It wasn’t for the Muslims who judged me or my ex or to show everyone how good of a person I was because I abstained from food and water and curse words during the daylight hours. She told me that my Ramadan was for me.
I went home and thought about what she said. She was absolutely right, and at that moment, I figured out that all those prior years, I had always been fasting to appease others. I had wanted to seem like the perfect, law-abiding Muslim that I lost track of what Ramadan was really about: self-reflection through prayer, gratefulness to our creator, and centering oneself.
It was never about perfection but embracing one’s uniqueness in imperfection.
We’re a week into Ramadan, and I’ve missed some days of fasting already. This morning, I was determined to wake up early enough to make suhoor (pre-dawn meal before fasting), read the Quran, and pray.
Prayers in Islam are integral. It’s a time where we mediate, keep in remembrance of our blessings, and ask.
Usually when I pray, I ask for general things for other people and I always leave myself out. As dumb as this may sound, I don’t believe that I deserve to ask for anything. So, I don’t.
But, Ramadan is the best time to ask and reflect.
I sat on my prayer rug that was once collecting dust and spoke out loud. I asked for the heaviness to be lifted. For a means to continue my art without struggling financially. I asked for a peace of mind. Forgiveness for any messed up stuff I’ve done to my body and to others.
After that, I gave thanks. For having working limbs, a mouth to speak, access to food, opportunities just laid in front of me. I’m not the richest or the smartest or the best, but I’ve done things most haven’t. Tears streamed down my eyes. Not sad ones but happy ones as I rejoiced. That the things that happened, good and bad, had been written for me way before I was born.
But, I always had a choice.
So, when I’m fasting and experiencing hunger pangs, when I’m feeling like I cannot go any further, I know that I can go further.
How’s your fast going?
Know what it feels like to be silenced for your entire life? Feel as if you’re trapped inside of your own body? Never being able to live up to any of the standards that are set forth from society, religion, a parent, social media?
That was me.
It seemed as though because of my vast intersectionalities (being Black and female), right from the womb I was told to keep my mouth shut and that my feelings were invalid. I was told that I’d have to always play by the rules, come in second, sometimes third, and be content with that shit. Always smile although pain is right beneath the surface. No one wanted to hear one complain about how hard life was. No one wanted to hear about anxiety or depression or body dysmporphia. If you prayed harder, was a better person and Muslim, then you surely wouldn’t have those sorts of issues.
Seems like a lot of us are living in denial. And, that we have a ton of projection going on of insecurities. Seems like a lot of us play it too safe and become resentful when others break out of their shells.
Well, I’m here to tell you that no one gives a fuck about your feelings.
After decades of seeing thin white girls on movies stick their fingers down their throats after purging and so wanting to be that thin and that beautiful and acceptable and that white with a skinny tush, I ate and ate and ate then scrambled to the toilet to regurgitate all the ‘bad’ foods and to my dismay, my gag reflex was too strong, so I was forced to be more fat and absorb all the empty calories.
I was dressed like a boy growing up because a Muslim girl is supposed to be modest, chaste, virgin, and unscathed by the harsh, harsh world. Men wouldn’t want to look at me sexually because I had on a huge tee that covered me like a fuckin bed sheet. Always had to worry about where a man’s eyes were. That’s the main concern. Are you too sexy? Are you asking for it? Did she deserve it?
Fat folks don’t deserve to slay. Fat folks need to cut their stomach in half, so they can be thinner with body issues and not fat with body issues. Because fat is bad. And thin is good. Fat is bad. Thin is good. Fat is bad. And, thin is…
Ya know there is one day when a person is fed up, and everything just stops.
And, you come to the realization that nothing is real. Nothing is set in stone. That the sun could just come a centimeter closer to earth and we’d all be fried to extinction. So, if that’s the case, then why are you living to make other people comfortable with you? Why are you ‘waiting’ to start your life?
Discomfort is temporary.
Discomfort is growth.
Growth is necessary.
I make people uncomfortable with my mere presence. That fact tickles me. That my presence, my essence is that powerful.
I won’t be apologizing for my mere being. For being fat. For being Black af. For being Muslim. I’ve said sorry enough by assimilating. By keeping quiet. By accepting abuse and ridiculous requests. By wasting time thinking about how dumb I sound or if I’m dimming someone’s flame because mine blazes so fierce or if this is all an illusion and I fall flat on my face instead of soaring. Maybe I’ll soar.
Actually, I’m not sorry at all for being myself, I’m unapologetic, and it’s only gonna get better.