Open Reflection: The Body Is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor

My birthday was March 14 ( woot-woot!!) and all I wanted were books. I wanted to get closer to the things I love and once were passionate about. Literature is one of those things.

So after a short afternoon with my homegirls celebrating the newest life that will be brought into our worlds, I went to the bookstore.

The book caught my eye and was the main reason I ventured into that particular bookstore. This woman, whose complexion was similar to mine, whose nose was shaped like mine, whose breasts were as big as mine, whose tummy was full like mine, sprawled out on a bed of flowers naked. Not a bit of shame in her eyes, proud of her body. After moments of admiring her, I looked at the title ” The Body Is Not An Apology”  and held back tears. Lately, I had been feeling so sorry for myself, Sorry that I hadn’t done what people wanted me to, Sorry about my body not being what it ” should” be, sorry for not being a good daughter in my parent’s eyes, Sorry for being too queer, Sorry for not being a good enough person to love,  Sorry for my existence. I knew this book was the beacon of light I was looking for I knew I needed it.

So I bought It and a couple of other books, sat in a coffee shop, and began reading.

Chapter 1 is titled “ Making Self – Love Radical”

In this chapter, the author Sonya Renee Taylor breaks down exactly what radical self-love is. She explains radical self-love as “Its own entity, a lush and verdant island offering safe harbor for self-esteem and self-confidence.” (pg1) Still confused? So was I.  I mean self-love, self-confidence, and self-esteem were all the same things correct? Harbor? What did she mean harbor? Although confused I kept reading. By breaking down what is traditionally perceived to be as self-love and confidence, she clarified the definition see radical self-love is something more, it’s not neutral like self-acceptance, it forces to go past accepting things that we cannot change, it forces not to settle. To see our worthiness, and to question and dismantle the systems that make us not love our selves.

 

Throughout the first chapter, she has what she calls ” Unapologetic Inquiries” where she poses questions these to make you go further inward.  The first eight questions really forced me to dig deep. They questioned my intersections, the places where I feel most vulnerable, the times when I most questioned myself and my body what I felt the need to apologize for… They brought up something I previously posted about: Beliefs. Alot of the beliefs I have/ had about myself aren’t mine. They are projections of what people think I should be, who I should be, what I should look like. In just meditating on that part I realized how many unhealthy relationships I’ve been in. Some of them being my own familial relationships.

It was Inquiry #5 that really got me ” What are you willing to stop struggling to understand for the sake of peace

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I responded :

I’m willing to stop struggling to understand my parents, why they treat me the way that they do,. It hinders me everytime I think about it. I’m also willing to let go of generally wondering why people don’t like me or want to be around me. Especially if I haven’t dont anything to them.

This is the main thing that worries me to my core, The perception of myself to other people. Some people ain’t gon rock with me but that doesn’t mean that I need to constantly change myself to fit into other peoples visions of me. Plus, there are plenty of people who love me just the way I am, and the only person that I need to change and adjust for is me.

The first chapter is working wonders, I can’t wait to see what chapter 2 has in store!!

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