African Buttaflie: Reflections on Self-Acceptance

There was a time when I didn’t think I was beautiful. It wasn’t so long ago.

To put these thoughts in perspective, I lost my contact last night -- my long awaited eye doctor appointment hath been sped up, warp speed bitches! Because of it, I’m currently wearing my old glasses, like from highschool. Epic Failure in both the Beauty and Vision Departments.

But back to beauty…I used to hate the way I looked. The gap between my front two teeth was too wide; fix it! My lips were too thick; must use lip liner tricks and thin them out. My hair was too long, everyone else’s hair was short -- I just want to blend in, I don’t want to attract attention, for goddssakes! My legs are way too muscular, too long! Why can’t I be long-waisted with short legs? My belly is too round! Why aren’t I long-waisted AND have a flat belly!? My boobs are too flat, why can’t I have big boobies like that girl in my junior highschool P.E. Class? (we all know how that turned out-reduction NOW, puhleeze?!).

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My skin’s too dark…why can’t I have the “good” kind of long hair vs. The nappy kind that has to be pressed once a month? Better yet, why can’t I wash my hair more often? Oh yah! Those unsightly natural kinks, can’t be seen with those! PORSHA, Shut UP!

Why do we behave this why? Why is normal better? Why is homogenized the way to be? Why do we have to start fixing things from birth to death, why can’t we embrace what is ours by birth?

I took a long look in the mirror today, after wearing my glasses most of the day and picking myself to pieces. I looked at my red-brown, earth colored skin. Colored red and brown like the earth of Mississippi where some of my people come from. I see the almond shaped “snake eyes” that I gained from my father, and his mother before him, and her Native American father before her.

I run my finger through my ‘au naturale’ kinky hair, that was once nearly down to my waist at it’s longest…I recalled hair the same texture, from my Granny Fern, whom every now and again would let my touch hers when she took it down from it’s bun, and brushed it 100 times each hand, both sides of her head individually. I weep at the thought of that hair, and how beautiful it was, and how I’d ask her when I stayed nights with her…”Granny, will I ever have hair as beautiful as yours?”— and she would smirk slowly, but look at me lovingly and nod, and tell me as long as I took care of it, so would it be. How I miss her so, it’s excruciatingly painful at the most inconvenient times!

I look at my long legs, the legacy of my father—and my round belly due to an overly curved spine, also his legacy. I think of all the lessons this life has taught me through him, and the lessons I had to learn that I know he’d rather I did not. I think of his loneliness now, but the pure joy that my child brings him, that gives him a reason to smile daily when his own begotten do not.

I think of that perfect mouth, bestowed on me by my mother…her dimples, *her* smile, her lips. She doesn’t smile this smile anymore, so I do it for her.

Lastly, I think of my searing HOT temper, which shows itself in my jaw locked tighter than a pit bull’s in the middle of attack! I think of my superstitions and beliefs that make most laugh at me, but I know are true. I think of my lazy right eye, and my love of rock and roll, all which come from my Grandpa Will-Will through his father, Charley Patton. My dreams of playing guitar have been lifelong; my ghosts and demons ever surrounding me just as his must have. My love to write about the darkness I carry inside and have seen MUST be a true testament to the talent that was great-grandpa Charley Patton.

*sighs* I came out of the trance and focused back on my face in the mirror, and smiled.
No, I’m beautiful. I wear my battle scars from life out in the open, for all to see. I AM Beautiful. This is what I know. This is what black history month means to me--remembering my honored dead. Remembering *why* I’m so very beautiful, because I carry them all inside --and out.

My name is Porsha A. Williams. I'm a single mom (sort-of) who never let go of her dreams of letting the world know me, the way I want to know it! When I'm not working for a very busy, NEW division of a worldwide Used Textbook Wholesaler, I'm raising my four-year old son and researching my slow but gradual change from Christianity to Paganism. Side hobbies include being this generation's family genealogist, writing poetry, writing for my blog --attempting to knit something that can actually be used or WORN, and starting to listen to that voice in my head who is almost always right. My blog

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