Her Silhouette.

This body is resilient. It can endure all kinds of things. My body offers me the power of presence. My body is powerful.
— Roxane Gay, Hunger, pg. 296

I have been working on my body for the better part of a year and a half now. My relationship with my physical body has morphed and contorted multiple times over my lifetime, and I am still discovering the myriad ways I view Her, approach Her, appreciate Her, and bittersweetly...reject Her, punish Her, misunderstand Her, and learn Her...among other things. But, I have learned that all of these ways are necessary routes on my dynamic journey toward fully accepting and loving Her. Toward fully accepting and loving myself.

In the time that I’ve taken a concerted effort to work on Her, I have become fixated on how She looks and feels to me. I have leaned into my intuition (my Spirit) in order to acknowledge and trust my senses. Inside and out, I examine Her curves and edges with such precision that I should be a machine. Sometimes I veer too far off course and into deprecation and disrespect— misjudging all Her imperfect things as being inadequate. The nooks I’d prefer were crannies, the crannies I wished were nooks. And when I do, when I slip off another shame cliff, I stop. I will force myself to stop, because that is not how I care to talk to myself, about myself. Because I am fully aware of who taught me—and when I learned—to be dissatisfied with my body.

At an inappropriately young age, I was taught to deny Her petitions.
To ignore Her cries. To abuse Her for having desires. Again and again.
To look at Her as incomplete and unbecoming. Again and again.
To devalue Her importance as inferior to my Spirit. Again and again.
To suck in.to lose weight.to not wear this.to not buy that.to hide the scars. Again and again.
And there were many times and many people who contributed to weaving that dehumanizing perspective of inadequacy— growing up chubby, then fat, then slim-thick, then curvy, then thick, then slim-thick-curvy. Again and again.
To view Her worth through the adorable.ugly.cute.unattractive.pretty.fine lens. Again and again.
But, on a subconscious and conscious level, I am the one who assumed the responsibility of passing those deceitful stories down. Down to my Self, down to my Soul, down to my Spirit...and if I felt so safe enough, down to whomever I knew would listen.

But, more often than not, I marvel at Her.
She is so supple and feminine. So solid and fierce.
She moves with a nimble grace and an awkward grip.
When I least expect it or am not even trying to notice, She flashes Her smile in the curvature between my hip dips and my bottom.
She flexes Her newfound muscles underneath the arm fat I’m still so ashamed to despise.
She announces Her presence in the widening of my torso and the rumbling of my rotund belly.
She foretells the future using my protruding forehead I try to cover up, which leaves Her blind.
She tells me, “I am here, so love on Me,” through large waves of estrogen before, but most especially after, my cycle.
She shows me, “I’m going nowhere, so take care of me,” through moments of cracking skin and pheromone stenches.
She whispers to me, “I am tired and would like to go home now,” when the night is still young and when the day is too old.
I listen to Her when She speaks...now.
When She is hungry, I eat. When She’s full I stop...or nibble a little bit more just to be sure.
When She feels unsafe or insecure, I ask Her to tell me more while lovingly holding Her hands.
When She’s in emotional or mental distress, I triage Her symptoms and tend to Her wounds.

She was introduced to physical pleasure through physical pain, so She often confuses the two. But we have been working together to learn how to peel those sensations and their interpretations apart. It has taught both of us discipline and the power of both acceptance and rejection. She still introduces Herself to pleasure with much trepidation, from the trauma of multiple encounters with pain. Nevertheless, She persists. She still endeavors to melt into pleasurable experiences and impassioned people. And when She finally does, when we actually do, She sings like the chorus of a billion angels.
She is Divine. She thrives in Nature; in the natural She makes a soothing bed and a cozy home. She is strengthened by the sun and the moon, equally, although She shows the moon deference when it is full. And I love how much, how deeply, She loves color— vivid.deep.bold.rich.striking...but not disturbing. Especially all those colors on Her vibrantly brown skin tone. She feels alive when She is in materials that hug Her like the curb embraces a nice lawn. She feels settled when Her skin is softer than organic cotton and smells more fragrant that freshly baked goods. I love how She makes me feel when She feels good.
She is my pleasure.my joy.my responsibility.

So,
I probe.
I pinch.
I caress.
I dress.
I undress.
I turn.
I twerk.
I oil.
I lotion.
I love Her.

Interestingly enough, I’ve never completely hated her. Been ashamed by (and embarrassed of) Her? Yes. But, hate? Never. I have arrived at loving Her just as She is; even as I train and condition and strengthen Her to do and be more than just a fulfillment of my potential.
We have an intimate ritual that we enjoy practicing. It is becoming...it is sacred:
I position myself in front of my full-length mirrors in my bedroom.
I turn off all the lights.
I completely undress.
I stand still, in the darkness and allow my eyes to orient to the absence of light.
My rods and my cones do their work, and then I just stare at Her silhouette.
I welcome Her into our space.
I hold her.
I admire Her.
In the darkness, I cannot perceive Her defects or deficiencies—
In the darkness, I can only behold Her svelte physique.
In the darkness, I commune with Her silhouette.
Sometimes I pivot.
Sometimes I fully turn around.
But, I never take my eyes off Her silhouette. Sometimes I do this quickly.
Usually, I take my time.
But, I never take my eyes off Her silhouette.

xo.SO.

Stella OloyedeComment