How Do I Love Me? (Let me count the ways…) – Shamekia’s Story

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

shamekia

 

How Do I Love Me? (Let me count the ways…)

 

(((Deep Sigh…)))

 

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:

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.

Words…and an Announcement!

Many of you may know from Facebook, but to make it super-official, I’m excited to share some good news. I am proud to announce that I’ve joined Stephanie from the Help a Girl Out project as a co-writer, project developer, and general brainstormer. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of this project that is already making a huge difference in the lives of women and girls! Go check us out on Tumblr…and just as a little incentive, here’s a teaser from my first official HAGO post. You can read the rest here…thanks for loving and supporting me, y’all! And as always, don’t forget to love yourself! -MS

 

 

The other day a coworker returned to the office from her lunch break visibly irritated about an encounter she’d had at a restaurant. As she was eating her lunch, a nearby child looked at her, then asked his mother, “Mom, why are some people so fat?”

 

When my coworker related this story to us, everyone became irate.

“You’re not fat! You’re beautiful!”

“That’s horrible!”

“I’m so sorry!”

“How rude!”

 

Apparently the child’s mother replied something about how some people eat different things and bodies are different. My coworkers were horrified by this response. They wanted the mother to explain to the child that he shouldn’t make comments on people’s appearance in public. I rather agree with both responses, given that the child was old enough to know about politeness in public. That’s really not the point, either way, though.

 

What horrified me the most was everyone’s reaction to my coworker being labelled “fat.” The feeling of indignation in the room was palpable. It was as though she told us that the child had called her “stupid” and I was reminded of this quote:

 

“She was struck by how mostly slim white people got off at the stops in Manhattan and, as the train went further into Brooklyn, the people left were mostly black and fat. She had not thought of them as “fat,” though. She had thought of them as “big,” because one of the first things her friend Ginika told her was that “fat” in America was a bad word, heaving with moral judgement like “stupid” or “bastard,” and not a mere description like “short” or “tall.” So she had banished “fat” from her vocabulary.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

 

We’ve all been admonished to banish the word “fat” from our vocabulary. How many times have we said, “I’m fat” only to be assured through heartfelt euphemisms that we’re merely big-boned, chubby, fluffy, plus sized, full figured, anything in the entire world but fat.

 

 

Read the rest here!