Chapter ’17

if you managed to read my last post, you’ll know i’ve been on vacation in Dubai. it’s now been 4 days since I’ve gotten back to reality and it feels as though a lot has happened. we’re what two weeks in to 2017 now? the Obama’s have officially left The White House. such an emotional transition not only for Americans, but for many people around the world. Tracie Ellis Ross won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Comedy. hard to imagine a black woman hasn’t won in this category for 35 years. Gabrielle Union is back on our screens with Being Mary Jane. did you realise we didn’t get any episodes in 2016? Janet Jackson welcomed a healthy beautiful baby boy in to our world. that’s the grace of God. maybelline has named their first male brand ambassador. about time men wearing makeup is advertised openly. so all this and we’re only two weeks in?

while meditating over my plans for 2017,  i realised how much has happened in my own life too. first, my heart is full of love. love has become my reality. everything that exists outside of that isn’t real. i’ll write about this and the book that changed my perspective another time. second, i recently started appreciating feminism, which i plan to embrace this year. misconceptions about feminism are most probably why its taken me a while to appreciate its position. i appreciate it now and the best part about that is that i have my own shade as i assume you would too. there isn’t one kind of feminism or one kind of feminist we should aspire to. being a woman is just that. my shade speaks to me on what being a woman means for me and for those around me. i am a woman who thinks, who does and who wants to inspire.

this brings me to Cleopatra. its hard to explain why, but i’ve thought of her a lot more now. i never knew much of her story when i was younger, but  i do remember thinking of her as an Egyptian goddess. similar to Isis. at another point i thought she was Queen Cleopatra, the Pharaoh’s wife. it’s only when i was a little older i learnt she was actually the Pharaoh. she was one of the most famous female rulers in history. she embraced Egyptian customs and ruled over Egypt despite being from a Grecian descent. still today, when people think of Cleopatra maybe Mark Anthony comes to mind. maybe that’s attributed to Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra. what this has done though is reduce so much of who she was to nothing more than a portrayal of beauty and seduction. but beauty is just an idea that anyone can have.

let’s think about this for a second. if Cleopatra had been in responsible for her own description would we know her as as a debauched temptress who used her sex appeal as a political weapon? if you read her history of course you’ll bump into plenty of her questionable traits but she may have been celebrated more for her intellect than her appearance. so while i was thinking of 2017, i kept thinking of how much i had to write my own story and cease to be at the mercy of anyone else’s definition. in one of my favourite interviews by Solange Knowles i loved how she expressed it as being in control of your own narrative. she says, “at this point it should be an expectation, not something that you’re asking permission for.” as women we often take on a lot of baggage by pretending we’re okay with something when we could just stand up and say, “no i’m uncomfortable with that.” it’s in this way that i’m proud to embrace myself as a feminist. i don’t have to express radical thoughts against men or equality to encourage women to give voice to their desires and express themselves. it’s more about awareness and a gender narrative.

i recently read a letter Chimamanda Adichie wrote to her friend who had asked her how to raise her daughter feminist, and i felt a world inside of me shift. it became clear to me that what we need more of is love. we’ve become used to thinking that hate opposes love. if we’re feminist in our thinking it must be because we hate something. but fear opposes love and it’s been a stumbling block for many of us. we’re afraid to be expressive because we’re afraid of someones perception. instead we focus on being liked. this is where a beautiful shade of feminism begins because men aren’t concerned with being liked. ever notice the narrative of articles on love? “7 Biggest Mistakes Women Make in Dating” is one i came across. you don’t have to look for it, i’ll tell you now that the article was so ridiculous, i couldn’t stop rolling my eyes. what a way to distract us from the fact that men have the potential to make the same mistakes. is that because men aren’t concerned with being liked as much as we are?

likeability is a false logic and we can all reject it. we can be kind, and brave and speak truthfully without fearing that someone might not like us. when we share from a place of love, there will always be someone who will. unlearning is a sure task. i’ve spent three months learning how to reject the likeability logic and its been hard. even so, I want to tell you, women especially, to eliminate your fear and write your own narrative of who you are and who you want to be this year. you don’t have to remain silent when you have an open heart. exhale. you are already full of so much love and you don’t need to give away more than you should for likeability.

if it’s not too late to wish you a Happy New Year, Happy New Year to you. I wish you a year of you.

xo

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