How We Shame OurSelves
"Have you ever looked in the mirror and just adored what you saw? And I mean really look, past all of what is supposed to be attractive about, without the edits, and unashamed. Have you taken a gander at your sex? Do you feel comfortable to have sex with the lights on? Hmmm, hmmm? Do you?"
Bodies are often shamed and WE often shame ourselves. Looking at ourselves through the eyes of others and not liking what they see. For years I didn't even look at my body. Not yet shaming myself, but not acknowledging my body altogether. It was afterall just a thing that I lived in no need for extra thought. I would glance at myself in the mirror and for most of my adolecence I was just a face. Through my teens I discovered more of myself. A huge thighs, a small nose, big ears. Those were things would mention so I had to acknowledge them.
But the shaming has got to stop. We shouldn't hate our own bodies and if anyone makes you feel otherwise then that's their problem not yours. It took me years to be comfortable in my own skin and it feels glorious. It happened the day I shut out other opinions and just stared at myself. I took in each part and I liked what I saw. The parts I didn't like could be solved in a gym, with some lotion, and a even tan.
When a lover becomes surprised by your own comfort in your skin, you've won. People's hang ups in your body is just their own insecurities shining through.
Failing is okay. Most failure comes with a great story and plenty of lessons. Most people assume that a college degree makes you invincible to failure and that you should be better off than those without degrees. You "made it" afterall and should put that degree to use. But what happens when that isn't what happens? How do you "make it" and still end up where you started? Well everyone's story is different. I'll tell you three.
Young girl raised by the system because her single mother is a convicted drug dealer/addict that is mentally disabled. At 7 she goes from group home to foster care to family members houses only to be reunited with her mom at 13. She attended 7 middle schools and lived in 5 different cities growing up. She works hard to make great grades and becomes a B++ student and gets into a out of state college. She is a success.
Boy grows up with single mother who is struggling to make ends meet. Brothers and sisters left to their own devices cause mom has to work. Most of his siblings drop out of highschool. Finds a love for music and art. He graduates and goes to community college. He is a success.
A girl with a minister single mother of three finds a love for singing in church. Is the youngest of three and once the older siblings are gone she begins to take care of her sickly mother. She hates school, but is smart. She graduates and gets a scholarship for school out of state. She is a success.
They each graduate college with degrees, practice art, and begin adulting. By their mid-late 20's they are broke, struggling for stability, and are desperately not wanting to fall into the holes their parents did. They are black. Does that matter? What about the theory that college grads are promoted to middle class with a degree? I say theory because unless you graduate with a job that's not reality. Especially if you're black. If you're black you go back home to poverty and search for jobs in a place you desperately wanted to leave, but if you're not into corporate America then you just float. It feels like you've done everything right, but are failing. Truth is the neighborhoods you left don't have jobs for black success stories, they barely have resources for residents let alone for some snobby graduate. Truth is ain't no place for black graduates who are told all they need is a degree. What happens when you get the degree and it was in the fine arts? If you're black you betta get a degree in a social science, business, or science. You betta not go home. Does knowing I'm story #1 make this understandable? Does a BA in fine arts not matter? I'm not bitter, I just have questions. Who has the answers?
I'm sure if you can't relate to our stories you have your own. That moment where you did everything right, but you suddenly fail. You feel like a failure. That's normal. I've learned that failing is okay.
On Making It
Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves and others to "make it". Said to God it's a made up term that makes you feel like crap. Cause if you don't "make it" you feel stupid. STOP WITH THE COMPARISONS!! There is no I made it juice. The people that have "made it" made their own happiness. That's it. I'm pretty sure they didn't peek over there shoulder being a sour puss (I'm old school) about what everybody else is doing. They discovered what would make them happy and did it. Go make it or whatever. Make whatever you want cause it won't make itself.
Be okay with failure. I've learned more on what not to do, so here is the list:
1) Don't freak out when things don't go as you perfectly planned.
2) If this is your first tour make a list and check it twice. If this is your 50th tour you know what to do
3) Get mentor (s) who has experience going to places you want to go
4) Ask your mentor (s) questions, A LOT of questions
5) Don't be afraid to ask venue or booker for what you need
6) Start slow, the tour doesn't have to be huge for your first go round worry more about presenting a quality product so they can tell their friends
7) Have merch to sell, build it first before the tour and sell sell sell
8) Don't sell yourself short
9) Before you know it, the tour will build itself
10) Umm HAVE FUN duh!
I got it! My invitation. Even bigger I accepted the invitation. My life will be filling out paperwork, getting medically/legally cleared, and preparing to leave. I have to remind myself of the IF in there. There's no guarantee that everything will go smoothly. I'm preparing for it to be expensive and a lot of hardwork. It reminds me of London... That was a year of torture to prepare to leave the country and getting there wasn't apple pie either.
Funny I tell everyone how great and life changing it all was, but it was also a lot of work. It required faith that a poor girl like me deserved to take that trip. Now I want to give back as well as dive into a new culture. I've already started learning Ahmaric. I'm not sure what's going to happen. BUT I do know I'm going to put my faith in something bigger than me.
I nearly cried when I saw the invitation. Let me paint the picture. I woke up sprawled out on the couch, blankets twisted over me to a dead phone. I groggily got up walked to the bedroom to put it on the charger. I decided to get some blog writing done before checking my e-mail. I stretched my toes as I wrote wiping sleep boogers from my eyes sipping on a cold glass of water from a plastic cup. I finished up the entry about my quarter life crisis, stretched, petted my brother's dog, and thought man I should really cut my phone off at night sometime because it is the first thing I reach for in the morning. I checked my e-mail and there it was. Peace Corps... Invitation. Something about Congratulations!? *click* You have been selected! *nearly cries, leaps to turn on phone, snaps important friends that won't be told in person* I got it. I actually got my invitation and I start reading EVERYTHING. My job will be a Secondary English Teacher in Ethiopia! (So much to read, but worth it)
I want this, my mom wanted this for me, and I pray that it all goes well. All my focus will be getting on that plane June 24, 2017. I know there are a lot of things in the states here for me, but I'm not gonna put my life on hold for anybody anymore. I talked about the Peace Corps all the time my senior year of college. When I get my diploma... When I get my diploma... Well now I have it. I have my back-up plan though I really want this I can't just think it'll all go well. It's just that... It's rare that I know exactly what I want, but when I do I go for it fully. So, I'm going for it. I've got weight to lose (personal goal), papers to read and send, and a language to learn. This isn't some fresh out of college trip anymore for me. I'm a educator, I love my work with kids. To do that in another country... Amazing. I love travel and to visit Africa? I'm excited.
That's the update. Now like I said. I won't drive you crazy with this. It's just the background to my life at the moment, that could be life changing. Once I get all of the clearances and the green light I'll let you know. But I have a life to live in the meantime.
Jump Rope Sis
Fitness. Life. Art. Travel.