I have a schedule, I rarely keep to it but I do have one. Per that schedule, I am supposed to write a response to the Commissioner of women affairs who thinks women are to blame for domestic violence. You see, dirty thoughts like that live in the minds of political appointees and I am set to rid them of it one article at a time so, naturally, I still have strong words for her.
I woke up reluctant as fuck, it’s a public holiday but my body would not sleep past 7am. I rolled over in bed and with one eye opened, I scrolled down my Instagram feed and something caught my eye. There was this post written by a friend — this post struck a chord in me, it explicitly explained my thoughts around beauty and so, I began to write.
I remember that morning, my friend and I walked on the streets of MKO gardens, her legs long like foreign candles and her hips swayed like life was a runway, she was the model and I was a prop. A car swerved, honked and then pulled over, a man came down from the car and walked towards us. He was obviously trying to get our attention but I kept walking. I walked away and left my friend to speak to him because I was convinced that he wasn’t checking for me and yes, he wasn’t.
I was not surprised because I knew at the time that my kind of beauty wasn’t capable of making cars swerve and pull over, in fact, it was barely enough for a decent Instagram post. I was 27 and I had come a long way from feeling ugly I had grown to see the glow in my skin, the beauty in my smile but I settled on these facts while convincing myself that although I was beautiful, I was not attractive. I know, you’re wondering what manner of science this is? I am as well.
I read this confrontational Instagram post and it stirred up questions that have stayed suppressed, feelings I thought were sorted and I asked myself, do I feel beautiful? We all have valid questions about the nomenclature of beauty and the unstable standards set by society and most importantly, we silently question where we fall on the spectrum.
I may not know much about beauty or fit into the standards set but I have realised is that I like the sound of my own voice, I like how my lips curl in a smile and the way my face brightens up in laughter, I like the sound of my laughter, it is a little too loud but I like it. I like the glow of my skin, marinated in coconut oil — it glows like the skyline delicately laced over Oniru beach at dusk. I like my body, imperfect but mine, on a second thought, what makes a body imperfect? I am learning that being ok with oneself is gold. I actually like me and that’s enough for now.
There are questions I do not like to ask myself because it calls into question thoughts that do not feature in my daily life: but I have come to know that these delicate grounds must be walked upon. We must carry the touch and light the way for young women, let them know that societal standards mean nothing and male attraction/attention is not equal to respect.
They must understand that that respect and equality are non-negotiable terms and the only standard of beauty that matters lies in their mirrors.
This is not a life hack, it’s a call to exploration of delicate grounds and difficult questions.