Wednesday, April 4, 2007

My Guest Blogger

My dear friend Mani wrote this piece and she agreed to let me share it with my readers.

A Public Apology

I'm sorry for all of the times I called you names, for all of the times I looked at you in disgust, for all of the times I thought about the many ways I wished you would change. I am so sorry for minimizing your achievements, for allowing my selfish quest for perfection to shame you, for doing things that hurt you for reasons that don't matter in the least.

I'm sorry to my daughters, because however much I tried to hide it, I know they picked up on my abusive behaviors, and it terrifies me to know they might someday become perpetrators themselves. I'm sorry to my mother, my grandmothers, my great grandmothers, and generation after generation of female ancestors.

My apologies to my best friend, to my boss, to my preceptors, to my clients, to women I don't really like, to women I pass in the grocery store, and to women I've never even met.

Please forgive me for being a part of this societal illness. I promise to try harder. I promise to catch myself mid-thought and redirect my energies. I promise not to take part when everyone around me is doing it.

I am five feet four inches tall. I weigh one hundred and fifty-nine pounds. I have a poochy tummy. I have stretch marks on my breasts, my belly, and my hips. I don't have toned muscles, and I have imperfect teeth.

And I'm going to do something culturally unacceptable and tell you the truth about myself. All those years I've joined in when women were criticizing their bodies and tried to make them feel better by putting myself down? The hundreds of times I looked in the mirror and curled my lip in disgust? I was wrong. I no longer mean it. Not a word of it. I am a woman in the process of falling in love with herself. The truth is, I'm fabulous.

The truth is, so are you. You won't be popular for thinking so, but that's okay. Some women might be intimidated. They might think, how dare you feel good about yourself when you weigh thirty pounds more than them, and they still feel like shit about themselves? Men might not like it, because you'll certainly be harder to control when you stop giving a shit what they think about your arms, your eyes, your ass. An entire diet and beauty industry that has depended solely on your low self-esteem to survive will implode. Nobody will make a single penny off of your belief that your face is pretty without foundations, shadows, blushes, concealers, or surgery. They certainly won't rake in millions when you discover that drinking their nasty fucking "meal replacement" shakes is a joyless way to live. They'll be pissed. They'll be terrified. They will do everything in their power to convince you that you're wrong, but it will be too late. You'll know the truth.

Please accept my apologies. I was wrong.

7 comments:

Karen said...

Mani--women can "suffer" just as much from high self esteem as they can from low self esteem.

*You are beautiful!* So is Maisha!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I'm not sure I understand that. Care to expand on it?

Thanks for the compliment. You're beautiful, too. -Mani

Leigh said...

Right on, sister! Somehow, I escaped the culture of body-bashing and have always embraced my body. OK, so I didn't "love" my big ol' booty, but I also knew I wasn't going to diet, or work out, or hide it. It was part of me.
And sure, my zits drive me nuts, but I've also accepted that they are with me for the long haul. Overall, my heart has guided me, led me to incredible relationships...and I don't believe my looks or my body had a damn thing to do with that.
Thank you for your honesty. I personally think you are a goddess, from your curls down to your healing energy. They complete your entire package.
And wouldn't it be SO fabulous to crash the beauty culture?

Karen said...

"The truth is, so are you. You won't be popular for thinking so, but that's okay. Some women might be intimidated. They might think, how dare you feel good about yourself when you weigh thirty pounds more than them, and they still feel like shit about themselves? Men might not like it, because you'll certainly be harder to control when you stop giving a shit what they think about your arms, your eyes, your ass."

This part that you wrote reminded me of the ways we can "suffer from high self-esteem." See we always hear about the woes of suffering from low self esteem...like "she isn't trying harder in school because (insert moany sound) she suffers from low self esteem" or "he won't keep a boyfriend because he (more moany sounds) suffers from low self esteem.

But think about it...when we hate each other for being proud of ourselves for something we are making someone suffer for their high self esteem.

Remember the ad, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful?" That would ad not have worked if it didn't happen.

Am I making more sense now...I think I do, but I could just be suffering from my high self esteem.

Karen

Anonymous said...

That makes perfect sense, Karen. After I thought about it for awhile, I sort of came to that conclusion... but not before I posted. :-D

-Mani

Connie said...

Thank you Mani for allowing Maisha to share your words. They are truly words of wisdom and beauty. If we all live by the stance that we love ourselves we will in fact all love each other.

I am in my minds garden absorbing the love that surrounds us all when we love ourselves.

For each person that loves herself we are all enriched.

L said...

This made me cry. Thank you both for sharing!