Friday, April 20, 2012

sincerely anonymous.

via brianna mccarthy.

A while ago I received this email, referring to this post:


I cannot believe I'm doing this but I had to. I follow you on twitter and I read your last post on your blog, it was fantastic!...after reading, I found that I still ask my twenty-one year old self those same questions. Maybe you could articulate this…better. My story may be the same as others, I don't know. It starts with men who feel 'God' like and at first sight are average, but speak in such a charming way. Maybe I'm wrong for still picking up the phone, even as I write this. I know these things are wrong but a part of me can’t quit. I'm just an average girl. Lately he has made comments in reference to my weight like  “…are you going to the gym today? How often do you go? Do you think you should go everyday?” Somehow I shut down and can’t say anything. Last night he asked what was on my mind, before I could speak he says “steak?” I just said "No, nothing at all.” Now I'm dealing with an eating problem: some days it’s spinach and cucumbers. Other days it’s nothing. I can talk about it because it’s like watching this happen to some other girl and I'm just on the outside, so I guess I don't really see it as a problem. I'm still a size 14. I know I'm enabling him, but I thought it would be a good anonymous topic for you. I wasn't going to send this but I’ve written the entire thing, so I guess I should.  Thanks.


Here is my response:


It took me a while to write back because I’m going to get real vulnerable with you. It’s the only way that my words won’t plummet unto your conscience as cliché fluff. I needed to muster up the courage to tell you my story and how can I lend courage if I can’t muster it?

I have to get real with you, like my mother was with me.  If it weren’t for my mother’s uncut tribulations sifting into my ears, after I told her my mistakes, I wouldn’t be here today.

You are beautiful.

Those words are hard to hear when you’ve believed the alternate for so long. They’ll cringe you to the core, pull the awkward out of you and have you fraudulently smiling to the compliment giver.  Take those words. In order to conquer anything of womanly accord, you’ve got to believe that phrase. This is priority and is of the utmost importance. I don’t care if you’ve got to tell yourself 1,000 times in a mirror, scribe it on your arm as a reminder or yell it from a rooftop; believe it.

You are beautiful.

I was forty pounds bigger than I am right now. Even these days I’m still quite the thick girl. Three years ago, I had to listen to the confirmation of what I’d been trying to repel via my negative conscience for years.

It was summer semester of our junior year that the parties and barbecue invitations started to manifest in our Facebook inbox. Indulgent and finished with our Friday classwork; my girls and I made a mad dash from our dorms to a nearby gathering boasting ribs and laughter. My roommate’s boyfriend and his boys were throwing the shindig; they were brown skin marines close to our age: All once teenagers without direction and looking for a place to go. After deciding on the military, they were placed in a college town bursting with women looking for mates. They still had no path; they were up for work by 5am, hunting for hook-ups by 5pm and in bed by 10pm. Repeat.

Although they were fools sometimes, they’d grown to be my extended family. When my roommate and her boo-thang became an item, he started to bring his boys around. We played spades, raced with them on the back of their motorcycles and sung old school songs by the beach bonfires.

Bryce wasn’t like the rest of them. He was in college and a military legacy. When you asked him why he wanted to be a marine he would say, “Because my great-great grandfather was one and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.” When we’d go and visit them, while his boys slung Heineken and dominoes, he’d be curled up with a textbook and a pencil above his ear. He was a perfect proportion; 6’2, sharp smile and cut everywhere. I was crushing.

I never told Bryce my feelings. We’d just exchange books, talk about our schoolwork and have study sessions from time to time. He became one of my closest friends. 

One night, my girls and I went to hang with the boys on a Wednesday. It was our movie night. We were surprised when we showed up and only Bryce was present. He shrugged, noticing our disappointed faces, “Guys decided to dip out to the bar, but I’m here. I’m heating up some popcorn, we don’t need em’.” Five of my friends, Bryce and I fell asleep watching whatever horrible flick we’d chosen. Bryce and I chose a separate couch to sleep in and we’d unknowingly catnapped in a romantic manner: His arms were around me as I snoozed into his chest. In the middle of the night his boys returned. I was the only one who stirred in my sleep. I figured they’d walk past us and head to their bedrooms, so I tried to find my way back to my dreams.

I heard small giggles and dismissed them as drunken. Soon the giggles became an eruption of laughter. Still my friends and Bryce continued to sleep while I sat with my eyes closed—feigning it.

“Yo what the heck is that? Bryce is kicking it with her?” One voice said.

Another snorted, “Hell no man! Bryce could do way better than that. You see that chick? She ain’t cute.”

“Ain’t cute? That’s being nice! She’s fat! F-A-T. Pretty face or not I’m going to have to warn Bryce about his choices man.”

They all started to laugh again. Some of them started to ascend the staircases next to the couches. One that took too long to leave whispered while he passed us, “Bryce. Come on man. Really?” My eyes flung open at him and he tripped over his first staircase ascent.

“Yeah, really.” I said.

I jumped up, gathered my things, and woke up my girls. We left beautiful Bryce there dozing and I went home to cry. Those were supposed to be my homies; guys I’d cooked for, opened my home to and introduced to my collegiate family.

Is this how they felt about me?
Was this what ran through the mind of every man that confronted me?
Was I beautiful?

This wasn’t the first time that word came back that a brother wasn’t interested because I wasn’t his type. But these words were closed-door-words. Syllables that people aren’t usually privy to. The things that we believe everyone is thinking, but swear don’t have the guts to say out loud.  

…& so I cried.

But the next morning, I made a few decisions.
  •       I’d never let any man EVER make me feel that way again.
  •       I would be secure with myself, even if I had to tell it to my reflection everyday.
  •       I am beautiful. I am intelligent. I am broken, but mended and worth any and everything.

Since that day, no man/woman/android has ever made me feel anything I did not want to feel. No one. The power of truly believing those simple words is immeasurable.

No man is a God.
However, never settle for one that doesn’t treat you like a goddess.
You are a walking contradiction.
They said we could never make decisions, speak or run the world.
We are running laps around it.
Hammer throw.

Any brother who is not satisfied with what is right before his eyes is NOT worth your time. You’ve got too many thrones to sit on and crowns to wear to waste your minutes.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing will change if you don’t believe in your beauty: inside and outside. I can’t stress this enough. The cure to this ailment is not eating less and it isn’t listening to the emotional abuse he lashes through the phone. There are only two cures here: One is getting rid of him and the other is facing your image and empowering it.

On the notion of weight loss, if YOU aren’t content with your weight, lose it. Don’t lose it for him, society or even your mother. Lose it for you. You don’t do this by eating nothing or one thing. THIS IS NOT HEALTHYYou do this with a variation of robust foods and moderate exercise. This issue is happening to you. I don't care as if it feels like you're on the outside looking in. IT'S YOU. The sooner you come to terms with that, the faster you can heal. In fact, you should also speak to a counselor who can help you sort out these emotions. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were you. Eat healthy, enjoy your life and embrace the woman who stares back upon you.

Your story is the epitome of thousands of women who neglect to tell themselves “I love you” everyday. We’ve forgotten to wake up to ourselves first and our significant others second. You are a pedestal waiting to happen, an insecure inner child we’ve all had to conquer and a replication of all of us. There is nothing anonymous about you.




Sophia B. said...

Pfffftt. Man, I know this story too well. Smh. Words leave eternal scars

Cassandre said...

I appreciate your courage in sharing your story, especially to help someone else.

"You are beautiful."

"Those words are hard to hear when you’ve believed the alternate for so long. They’ll cringe you to the core, pull the awkward out of you and have you fraudulently smiling to the compliment giver."

I work in HR in retail and one of my cosmetics girls always greets me with a, "Hello Beautiful" or "How are you doing, pretty girl?" and if only she knew how I cringe each time she says it. But I'm going to try this exercise and say it to myself as I'm getting ready.

Christina said...

That poor girl is only a size 14...OMG...I don't usually admit this, but I am a size 22. So imagine how females who are my size or bigger feel. While my belief in my beauty isn't 100%, I believe it more than I did when I was younger.

Everyone has that moment when they realize that the words of others are not worth the heartache we put ourselves through after hearing them. Riva, it was very brave of you to tell your story and it was brave of Anonymous to write to you. It at least shows that she knows there is a problem with her situation.

We ARE beautiful. We do have to repeat it to ourselves everyday, unfortunately. I say unfortunately because we live in a world where beautiful means how your body looks when beautiful is really about how your heart looks. If your heart is beautiful, everything else about you will be too even if you got a crooked nose, are 600 hundred pounds, and have one leg. Just be beautiful in here ::points at chest:: Anonymous. The rest will work out on its own.

LM said...

Self love is the best love!!
Great post Riv!