My good friend, fellow peer, and future colleague Asia Vianna Mack has gloriously put into words what WOMAN means to her in the form of poem. I am honored to know such a strong and vulnerable woman, I hope you enjoy!
Just like a Mr. Potato Head. Rip off the arms, mouth, mustache and legs. All you’re left with is a big brown lump!
I’ve often felt this way as I’ve physically matured from a girl to a woman. The objectification and sexualization of my body impacted my self-esteem, self-image and spirit. So many times, when I look in the mirror I mentally detach my body parts. Starting with my face and then my breasts. Stomach. Thighs. Buttocks. Back and then around to my arms. Scrutinizing. Criticizing. Assessing. Disapproving. Finding flaws with my body.
This fault seeking behavior impacted the self-love I showed my body. As I have become more educated on sexism, misogyny, objectification, and stereotypes I have been able to recognize my internalization of these perceptions. Yet, for a long time, even after I recognized that I internalized these ideas I wasn’t sure what to do with it or how to correct it.
To really shift your thinking is an involved process. A process I’m still moving through. For me this involves my faith and seeing myself the way God intends me to be seen. Another aspect is my various practices of movement and dance. The mind, body, soul connection I have with movement helps me repair some of the mental and spiritual damage I’ve done to myself with negative and judgmental thoughts. Then there is the actual replacement of thoughts. I still may look at my stomach and think, “My waist is too large”, yet now I’m training myself to send that body part love with thoughts such as “I love you stomach and I am thankful for the strength within you and all you do to help me move.”
By showing my body grace and appreciation I can work to be a healthier me for me and not for society’s perception of me or for some image I put in my head. This level of self-love is a God-send and I am so happy to be in this space.
Find a way to love your body and all the parts that make it up. You are not just your hair, your lips, your breasts, waist, or hips. You are a woman. A woman with a brain and a spirit. What a wonderful way to be.
Asia Vianna Mack