My body has lightning bolts.
They are on my sides, my butt, and my thighs. These lightning bolts may appear, to the less informed, that they are just stretch marks. But they are more.
You see, the lightning on my thighs reminds me that I must walk like my feet are the cause of thunder.
The lightning on my sides reminds me that every time I take a breath, I must breathe in greatness and breathe out excellence.
The lightning on my butt...well, I’m still working on what my body is trying to tell me with that one.
Most of all, the lightning on my body reminds me that it is necessary for me to love every part of who I am. I must love my color, my mind, my hair, my lightning bolts, my thighs (that are indeed made of thunder), my lips, my eyes, my smile, my nose. I must love me.
But I know that this isn’t an easy task, especially when your body type, race, or hair (or all three!) aren’t represented as often as they should be. Loving yourself isn’t always a walk in the park or a piece of cake, but something that takes serious effort. However, take it from me, the result makes all of that work completely, undoubtedly, and wonderfully worth it.
When you love yourself, you begin to see how valuable you are as a person. You glory in your personhood. You are comfortable being a black person, a black woman. It is that understanding that helps you to know exactly how you must be treated. You will then exude an aura of expectation that alerts those around you that you are aware of the respect you deserve from them. And they had better deliver.
My wonderful people, we are powerful, excellent, amazing. We are earth-shaking, stereotype-defying, groundbreaking people. We don't reach for the stars because we are them. Instead, our hands are outstretched to grab even greater. We have cornbread and resilience deep in our souls, spirituals woven in our hair, rhythm in our hands and feet. We have generations of stories on our tongues, laughter and smiles on our lips, unshakeable joy in our hearts, brilliance in our minds, and natural skill in our fingertips.
And we must love ourselves.