808s & Instabreak
‘In life, one is always balancing’
I’ve read Nikki Giovannis poem a hundred times over this past week.
I’ve tasted her words in my mouth like honey, slowly let them melt. Claimed the sweetness in them until they rushed my blood.
I fall out of balance at times, sometimes my heart is heavy and my thoughts weigh on me.
To an introspective person who long for momental solitude, in our time of sharing, and rewarding extroversion, a certain amount of reclusiveness is not only self-preservation, it is self-care. It is reminding myself of who I am without the validation of others, that I’ve only ever existed for myself.
There was a time when I never felt approved. When anxiety would lay thick in my chest at the thought of school, when I would brace myself for comments, wear my body like a bulletproof vest. When a guy who liked me would get bullied to the point where he kept distance, when this shell was not apprieciated, when it was subjected to violence. When I did not possess no such thing as a beauty-capital.
These are different times for me in many ways. I use this same body for my work, I created a space for myself to be normative in. A space where a picture can spawn hundreds of positive comments, some of them young girls stating that they wish they’d look like me. There is a vacuum in these words, a borderline in time that I walk on with my arms stretched. I find ground in the warmth of ‘Salt’ by Nayyirah Waheed: ‘Raising you on beauty alone, you will be starved’
No matter how glad it makes me reading someones kind endorsement, I keep reminding myself that it’s not important for me to be beautiful to others. I learned how to love myself when I wasn’t.
In our capitalist society, we use capitalist tools as catalysts for progressive change,
and beauty has become a currency that intersects with, and cut through, the power hierarchies present within social identities. It is a pregorative, a power capital and a subjection simultaneously. A discussion that needs the acknowledgement of it’s complexity.
I balance wanting to stretch the prevailing, narrow template, so that marginalized and non-normative individuals can be reminded that they are beautiful – to the reminder that your worth is not in any way subordinate to your physical appearance.
Balance constantly questioning myself against feeling powerful and chosing positions of power within my work.
Balance the wish to never reproduce harmful ideas – to the desire to not be pedestal, and the belief that the female experience is a human experiene that is unapologetically flawed and unrefined.
In life, one is always balancing,
and I don’t know if there’s always an evident midpoint, or if it’s ever more than ephemeral, but I do know swaying is inevitable when moving forward.