Body Series

In my body is a safe space to be, A series: From Yetunde, with love.

The first time I saw Yetunde my jaw dropped–I was in complete awe. It was a sunny September afternoon and I was walking out of French class my freshman year of college on my way to lunch. There she was, towering above others–wearing dark wash jeans, dark brown boots, and she was glowing. The sun was her accessory. When I think of Yetunde I think of the word grace—graceful. It’s the way she carries herself, chin up (always) back straight, one step in front of the each other. She knows her worth, walks in her purpose, and it’s so gosh darn beautiful. It’s inspiring. Yetunde thank you for your vulnerability. Thank you for sharing.

I’ve started this series because through my own self acceptance search/journey I’ve realized that we, as humans, all have problems with our skin suit no matter what it looks like. The point of this series is to confront our flaws AND to highlight our excellence. I hope one day we’ll all be able to wake up and that voice in our mind which lists all our faults on repeat will be much quieter if not silent. The mirror will be less scary. We’ll smile as we pass our gorgeous selves. We’ll have a bounce in our steps. One day we’ll love our bodies exactly as they are right now. We might have bad days . We might have bad weeks. Yet once we unlock that key, that key of self love we’ll know we can get back to a sanctuary within our bodies. Our bodies and our selves are waiting for that love, waiting for that permission to just be. As I said to Yetunde, (and as I say to all my future spotlights), be gentle with yourself, you are meeting parts of yourself that you have been at war with.

1. What makes you feel beautiful?

When I’ve taken the time to pamper myself. Freshly waxed eyebrows and upper lip, a good skin day and a fresh mani pedi.

2. What makes you feel powerful?

A bomb, comfortable pair of heels, a good night’s worth of sleep and a productive morning.

3. What would you tell your past self about beauty and bodies?

Beauty is ever-evolving in its subjectivity, even when the only perspectives you take are those of your past and future selves. The only person who can truly make you feel more or less beautiful is yourself. Block out the « advice » of others on beauty regimens and fitness goals, find/research your own personal health and fitness journey. Find some activity that brings you inner peace/joy, be it running, yoga, or kickboxing. ALWAYS believe in/accept the compliments!

4. How does your skin color make you feel?

Beautiful, edible, luminous. I couldn’t possibly have been born any other color and I would not want to be any color beyond the shades my skin already affords me, whether that be the slightly paler, brighter version of myself in the winter or the darker, more vibrant version of myself in the summer. I give a lot of credit to my mum for always referring to me as a beautiful chocolate shade growing up. I have always loved chocolate and always considered it the highest compliment.

5. How have you struggled with your body?

I have always struggled with having flat feet from both an aesthetic and utilitarian point of view. I have always been athletic and always been involved in sports; Having flat feet made me more susceptible to injuries growing up. But, there is also a certain beauty I find in a well defined arch. Perhaps it is because I lack this arch myself so I have overcompensated with my admiration for this feature on others. I admire most on others their feet, toes, fingers and general fingernail and toenail shapes and colors. I also admire lips. I let a callous prepubescent boy convince me once that I had « kpomo lips », loosely translated to say I had very fat and tough lips. « Kpomo » is cooked cow skin in Nigerian vernacular. I am quite happy to have rid myself of that misconception many years ago and now think my lips are one of my best assets.

6. Complete this sentence… “In my body is a safe place to be because….”

My body houses my mind and I would not trade that unique perspective for any other one.

From Yetunde with love.

Thank you.

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