Shamekia is a goofball, a Cleveland native, and a human jukebox. Her desire to become Carmen San Diego when she grew up is part of the reason that she has traveled to three African countries in the past four years (Ghana, Ethiopia, and Kenya). She loves music, food, dancing, cooking, singing (notice a theme here?) and fat animals. She also loves children, particularly when they are listening to stories that she reading aloud.
What this really means is that we’re work friends, separated at birth, and making up for lost time just as fast as we can. Here’s Shamekia’s take on loving herself. Enjoy! -Mary Susan
How Do I Love Me? (Let me count the ways…)
I don’t typically share this with people, but…I didn’t become pretty until I was 27. I won’t bore you with my years of struggle with low self-esteem (although, the struggle is So. Damn. Real, y’all). I’ll just admit that that’s when things started to click for me internally.
Most people shudder when I say this, but here goes: I am fat. Legit fat. For some odd reason people think that I’m declaring my ugliness when I say those words. I know I’m beautiful. I know I’m sexy. I’m also fat. The twain shall-and do-meet.
There are days when I forget how far I’ve come (old habits die hard, blah, blah…) yet even in the midst of down feelings, I think I give off a bravado that is more confident than I give myself credit for. It’s like my inner Foxy Brown/Sasha Fierce hops into action (sometimes without my knowledge). Or maybe, just maybe, I’ve learned to love myself before I appreciated what was happening. Love came on like the dawn. At some point I realized I was standing in full sunlight without realizing that it happened.
When things aren’t clicking for me, when I don’t walk with my normal strut, I have to remind myself of when I was 13 (the worst year of literally everyone’s life). I have to tell that girl that things get so much better. I have to tell her that she is and will be surrounded by love and laughter and people that truly respect her. That she is fearfully and wonderfully made by a God that is smarter than her, so don’t succumb to low self-esteem. Ever.
Loving my body is a constant lesson, like being given the same homework assignment that’s due every day. So, what’s so great about my body anyway?
My lips are the ‘Cupid’s bow’ shape that is simply made for deep red lipstick (shout out to Sephora).
My smile makes people happy.
My skin is the perfect shade of brown that looks good in every color.
My hair (when well behaved) is a rounded crown of ancestral glory.
My hips are epic. My. Hips. Are. EPIC. They are all that is great about womanhood and I’ve been told my many that my hips remind them of music.
Do I have to remind myself constantly of the prime real estate that my soul occupies? Yes.
Do I still battle with comparing myself to others? Sometimes.
Everyone has their bad days, and I’m not exempt from that. But that’s when I read my favorite poems:
- Homage to my Hips (Lucille Clifton)
- Phenomenal Woman (Maya Angelou)
- Ego-Trippin’(Nikki Giovanni)
- Never offer your heart to someone who eats hearts (Alice Walker)
I surround myself with friends. I cook. I dance. I laugh my ass off. I remember that God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.
3 thoughts on “How Do I Love Me? (Let me count the ways…) – Shamekia’s Story”
Shamekia, I love your energy and spice! What a fun lady you must be! You so positively express the craziness of loving ourselves on one hand and sometimes still, feeling the weight of stereotypical expectations rather than finding the value in how specially and individually we were made. It IS a never-ending homework lesson! My we forget that red grading pen that we anticipate descending on our work, and celebrate the joy in our creation! You go, Girl!
Beautiful. Inspiring. Eternal. That’s not just how I feel about your amazing message but how you (yes, YOU) are and will always be! I love that you love what I love as well. This not only reminds me how all forms of love can make the world a better place but how special this world already is for having such a wonderful person in it! May we all remember how unique and precious God has made every single one of us.
beautiful girl, beautiful story! oh, and epic!