Friday, March 21, 2008

Letter To My Body on This Day

I resisted this. I wanted not to share the personal because there is so much that need to be seen and experienced beyond the self. I like exploring outside of myself.

Hmm. Yeah. I don't know how to do this so I avoid. LainaD over at BlogHer asked women of color to post letters to their bodies. I kept waiting for folks to start posting links so that I could read about our struggles with having our bodies in this culture. I'd check in every other day but I heard the cyber equivalent of crickets.

I did a Google search on "The Letter" and as of this day 124,000+ mentions and 5,830 blog posts about women writing about their bodies. Dang, late to the party once again.

I didn't think I had anything to add. There are funny, moving powerful letters out there. I've been looking at a few. Women's magazines and mainstream media do not have a clue as to who we are, the only deal with the veneer of surface enough to know how to sell us something.

Dear Body:

We started in a fury having chosen to emerge during a snow storm. I thought it was a good idea at the time but being birthed during a blizzard does set up our pattern for how we've sloshed through life. You reflected my ancestors, both the voluntary and involuntary ones and some of those rascals were impatient to begin again.

My hair I now celebrate but in reality it is a hard won truce. It wasn't called pretty and hardly ever in style. I've pressed my hair with hot combs, relaxed it with lye, had it Jerri curled. I promise never, ever to do this again. I do remember being caught in a rain storm without an umbrella. Major apologies to the eyes for that dumb move.

Hair, you came back. Each and every time. Thank you.

As for the body. We've been though it haven't we? I'm sorry about pulling the toaster on your head when I was three, I hadn't mastered that cause and effect thing yet. The cord was just dangling there and you know, inquiring minds.

The N-word. High yellow. Tar black. The paper bag test. Having people look at my skin and make instant decisions on my intelligence, my ability to articulate the letters "Th" or their level of investment in being involved with me. Skin you caught hell from both sides. Intra-racism, External racism.

I fought fights in school because I was too light. In 1968 James Brown has a hit record called "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud." I then fought the same people then said I wasn't black enough. How you survived the emotional blender of the 1960s is a miracle. It was something wasn't it?

I remember when I was eight or nine I tried to stay out in the sun so I could darken you up a bit more. Only worked in the summertime. I never hated you, I hated how people reacted to you and I had to defend you more than I was capable at the time. I know I wished I had skin like Gladys Knight but I really wished people would back off and see me.

It is a lot better now. Thank for adding a bit more color as I aged. Thanks for covering my body as a reflection of what came before and what is to come.

You were round and never small as in skinny. Certainly never in style. We had to make our own path with many a misstep along the way. Sorry about trying to stuff the thighs into Fishnet and Window Pain stockings. Trying to wearing mini skirts and forever tugging them down. Clogs and boots I tried to teeter you on to be taller. I never developed the fashion gene so I kept you out of step. Sorry about that. You got additional grief because of it.

I'm sorry I stuffed you to null some of the pain of my life but I'm not sorry about what I stuff you with. Cheese Steak Hoagies with extra onions, cherry peppers and mushrooms. Tasky Kakes, Tandy Kakes, Rum Water Ice, Black Cherry Soda and pork rinds with a Pizza chaser. Oh and experimenting with other cultures foods. It was a good run while it lasted.

We know much better now don't we? We eat veggies and on occasion sample but not consume to our hearts content.

I'm sorry that man attacked you on the street. I wished I could have protected you better. And later on when you were physically ill I wished I could have fought harder faster so I could have gotten the help you needed. Unemployment and illness do not mix well.

I appreciate your patience as we search for the right partner. Thank you for not get pregnant with those that I shouldn't have been with in the first place.

Thank you for you continuing interest in the male species but you are gonna have to let mind and soul have jurisdiction over selecting folks. I do ask that you quit lusting after certain types of warm bodies. Mind knows what she is doing, you gotta trust it will be ok. I understand about the sexual munchies but you can't want to f*ck everything in pants. Bank that passion into learning and actually driving a car. In the meantime, I promise to find a better way of handling those needs.

Thanks to the knees for holding me up all these years and letting me know I need to pay attention to the weight load or there is gonna be trouble. Thanks to my feet who have taken me where I want to go when I wanted to do it.

Thank you to my flat feet for allowing me to walk from 69st in Upper Darby to 21st and Chestnut because I needed to heal and walking is a real good way to meditate. Thank you for being flat because I can feel more grass under my feet that way. Also in the tube I can move more water and feel embraced by circulation.

All in all I don't have many complaints about you. Ok, when I lose weight why do the boobs have to lose mass? All I'm asking for is resource allocation. Take from below and not from above.
I think this can be worked out with the thighs.

Just kidding. I didn't think we'd make it this far. We still got work to do and miles to go before we sleep. I appreciate the journey you have taken me on so far.

A Sampling of Other Letters:

Lady Beams
Lady Shanny
Currently Dreaming

If you want to get in the BlogHer Letter To Your Body all you gotta do is write a letter and let folks know where to find your post.

1 comment:

  1. What a great letter! I really enjoyed reading it. As long as I was here I looked thru a few of your others as well. I'll be back to check in once in awhile. Thanks for including my letter in your post.