A letter to my flaws – defining beauty

African woman with a turban. Image from http://precisionartblog.blogspot.co.ke/2014_07_01_archive.html

Dear Flaws,
Hi, my name is Shingai and even though you probably already know that I wanted to take the time to re-introduce myself to you
To start this relationship anew, yet different from all the other times my heart broke into two because of you.
It is different this time, I am no longer putting my life on the line, holding my breath, wishing time would rewind, or at least pause until you became perfect.

African woman with a turban. Image from http://precisionartblog.blogspot.co.ke/2014_07_01_archive.html
African woman with a turban. Image from http://precisionartblog.blogspot.co.ke/2014_07_01_archive.html


So dear petals to my rose, here goes
To my stretch marks,
To be honest I have long wondered what your God-given purpose is?
I mean really, are you just decoration to my sides, signs on my arms that I am wise,
Ever creeping little cellulite under my thighs.
You are considered taboo,
No one perfect is meant to have you,
Yet somehow I am learning to love you,
To admire the variety and uneven spice you add to my otherwise smooth skin.
I no longer think that your presence in public is sin
If anything I love that consciously embracing you as part of me allows me not to fit in
And to the number on the scale,
I bid you, adieu
I don’t understand why society places so much value on you
My heart breaks for all the little girls whose hearts you have robbed and minds you have confused
I am not sorry to say, you are not worth the time of day
Let’s be real for a moment, because there is no time like the present
I. Am. Not. A. Size. 2
Never have been,
And probably never again will be
But does that mean I don’t have a right to be happy?
Please… I only have one life to live and as long as I am healthy I am planning on living it happy
To my curves, you define me as a lady, soft and full
No matter what society says you are beautiful
To my smile, I am sorry that I cover you up sometimes with a hand
Like I am afraid nobody will understand why you are not perfect
It’s crazy but it never seems to get in my head
You are beautiful because you were genuinely created to light up like the sky on the fourth of July
You are one of the best things on me because when you get huge in size
You not only show up on my lips, the dimples on my sides, but also in my eyes.
And to my skin the color of chocolate, how many times has it been shoved in your face?
The unspoken rule, lighter is better
Like the color on your skin determines your level of beauty?
I shake my head in despair,
As I think back on how I used to believe lighter skin made you more fair
I am better for you, and I love that you are a reflection of the heart of Africa
An exotic color to a perfect stranger
Your color is needed in the world,
Embrace it and show off with a little twirl.

To my hair, kinky and filled with curls
Like lighter I thought straighter was better
Refusing to bend to a comb’s will I now realize you require a lot more skill in patience
I am sorry I covered you up, ashamed that you were so tough
I am now learning to embrace your nature, wild and strong like a ringing laugh
Like the words of a love song, We are in this journey together from now on
To these and more, my flaws one and all
I don’t take the time to thank you enough,
For not being perfect,
For not being Boring,
Instead you are an incredible contrasting symmetry,
The combination of melody and harmony interwoven into a symphony
Brilliantly ingenious, not to mention interesting
In a society that makes most of its income from self doubt,
It is an act of fearless rebellion to love yourself without a doubt
Dear Flaws,
I am not writing this for me alone,
I am writing it for all the unknowns
This is the truth,
I am writing this for Ruth, and Kimberly and Jean, and Kuki, and Laura, and Daisy, and Anna, and Gloria, and Stacey, and Libby, and Penny, and Miriam, and Sheila, and Hannah, and Naomi, and on and on it goes to every other name out there who knows you, experiences you, and dies a little because you make them imperfect
I am writing this because if I don’t find you beautiful
I would be the biggest fool because no one else would
Dear flaws I am writing this because I am showing one up on society
By saying without shame, that you are part of what defines beauty.

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