The river comes to the body bold,
dreaming of black hues and a gestured
cluster of colored fish. This is the way
the world runs through us, its instruments of moon-
water and hangnails of hope. River, river,
listen, I understand the urgency. I am
floodwater running; I am dirt ditch rising.
A constant glutton for the outpouring pond,
I am trying desperately to return to gone.
Ada Limón, “Body of Rivers” in Sharks in the Rivers
1. I think I become someone else when I'm watching the sun climb into the sky.
2. I like that version of myself better. She seems more prone to hope.
3. Advice for sun-seekers: "Clutch the light."
"In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act."
Caroline Caldwell, Dirt Worship
4. It has been 108 days since I last googled a plastic surgeon and 105 since I stopped answering one person's calls. I don't think this is a coincidence.
5. My body is a number game now. 33 days ago I could finally look in a mirror without flinching, 25 have passed since I stopped attempting to diet, and 6 hours have gone by without me apologizing for my appearance.
6. I am still unlearning how to hate myself. I have been told that these things take time.
7. Before you are anything else, you are a person and that makes you worthy of love. Even when you're sick and aching and desperate for affection. Even when you're laughing too loud or trying too hard. Your tangled hair and hungry heart have never been too much of anything.
8. I'm going to repeat this until I know it's true.
"I am filled with a kind wildness."
Anis Mojgani, “I’m Forgetting This Poem Before I Write It”
9. Growth is slow and maddening and beautiful. I stumble more than I walk.
10. Some days my lungs overflow with words but my mouth won't let them out. This is a sign. One day I will learn to leave my dreams with only the people who want them, but my soul is beginning to heal itself.
I believe in gentleness. Lord,
I believe in light. I am my own higher
power. I will carry myself out.
Sierra DeMulder, from “After Googling Affirmations for Abuse Survivors”
11. Is it possible to have too many emotions and too few at the same time?
12. Dealing with me will always be challenging. One day I will love my body for where it is taking me and not what it looks like, and I might even learn to talk more slowly or to use fewer adjectives or to share my thoughts without being afraid, but I come from a long line of difficult women and I gain so much joy from letting my feral heart run wild.
13. The most important thing is that I'm trying.
how you love yourself is
how you teach others
to love you
rupi kaur, from milk and honey
This post has been sitting in my drafts all week. I attempted to put a regular OOTD post together and I just couldn't manage to write it. It's just been sitting there, preying on my mind while I worked and went to school and went through what was honestly my worst week of 2016. So if you hated it, don't worry. I'm not likely to repeat this format again!
For a little context: I never actually intended to make a post out of what I wore to the IGDC Instameet last week. Megan and I usually end up grabbing another friend or two and roaming around museums and coffee shops whenever we meet up somewhere, so when Rika sent me the invite to the Instameet, I pretty much assumed it'd be more of the usual. I'd spent Friday and Saturday getting up at 4 a.m. for sunrise hikes, so I was more than happy with the idea of staying behind the camera or even (try to contain your surprise) not taking photos at all until the Instameet.
By the time I realized she planned to shoot for the blog, I'd caught a sinus infection from one of my friends and was too miserable and exhausted to put any effort into my appearance. Out came my most beloved six year old Free People dress and my child-sized rain boots (I think the reflectors on the back of them really add a certain je ne sais quoi to my outfit) and my favorite, most comfortable oversized glasses. I didn't even glance twice at my makeup bag. To cap it all off, it started raining early in the morning, so my hair ended up attaining Hermione Granger levels of bushiness. There was no way this would end well. I literally specified that she should avoid my face and figured that I'd throw a few strategically cropped detail shots into another post.
However, photographers are a law unto themselves and by the time I got the photos back I realized that there were dozens that were just...me. Portraits, closeups, full outfit shots - you name it, I had it. And I looked just as awful as I'd feared in pretty much all of them. If you're tempted to jump in and contradict me, don't bother, because I'm really, really not fishing for compliments. I realize that I was sick, not wearing any makeup, disinterested in posing for anything, and had slept maybe 7 of the preceding 48 hours and that those are all socially acceptable excuses for not looking your best in photos. That's not the point.
What's really been bothering me is how deeply I was affected by seeing all of these photos of myself at my very worst. As a brown girl, I've always had a very complicated relationship with mainstream beauty ideals. Once I ended a friendship a few months ago with a very dear but superficial friend my sense of self became a lot healthier. It was sort of amazing how quickly I stopped obsessing over my appearance once I removed myself from that toxic little bubble, but one set of unflattering photos was enough to send me right back to feeling worthless because I'm not tall/thin/curvy/white/adjective adjective adjective enough to be a model.
It seemed disingenuous to pretend that I'm some sort of perfect alien creature that never feels insecure when the mental slump I was in could be attributed to these photos more than to the combined pressures of midterms, primaries, volunteering, tutoring, work, and the sinus infection that still hasn't cleared up combined. So, I don't know if I'll keep this up, I don't know if anyone will even read it, and I have no idea if those of you who do read all this text will relate to it, but if even one person feels a little better about themselves because I was honest on my little corner of the internet then I guess something worthwhile will have come of my all my anxiety.