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    I can't lie:  I can be pretty damned-self conscious and my feelings are easily hurt.  While I'm usually able to quickly shake off the sting and get back in the game (while repeating that at least God and my mother love me), every so often words (inartfully phrased), or deeds (indelicately performed), linger onward.  Occasionally, these emotional wounds-no matter how superficial-create a soreness that will take longer to subside than one would think.  They're the paper cuts hidden beneath the nail.  The repeatedly bitten cheek that swells from the inside...

    And yet, I shudder to even write about this for fear of reprisal.  The righteous accusation of my self-acknowledged and proclaimed hypersensitivity (which, of course, would tautologically hurt my feelings).  But.  I'm a big girl.  I can take it.  So, here it goes:


    1.  I totally get that large hips and buoyant, reasonably expansive asses are treasured by black men...but truly, I could happily live out the duration of my life without hearing another comment about my thickness and the vastness of my lower body.  Just last week, a (female) colleague attributed my penchant for skirts and dresses to what she perceived as my desire to show off my, "nice, big legs."  And I am appalled each time that I am told that I have, "child-bearing hips."  I mean, even if one didn't know that my parents sent me to Weight Watchers Camp when I was a child, packed my lunches with rice cakes (instead of pb&j sandwiches), and locked me out of the house to promote "play time," --and that it's not uncommon for my diet to consist solely of a foul concoction of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper for weeks on end, that folks would chill on commenting on the volume and width of any part of a woman's body.  My indignation extends to those of you who have knowingly looked me up and down and said, "I know you love to eat..."

    About a year ago, I went to dinner with a group of girls.  After discussing our usual topics, the conversation moved to fashion and how difficult it is to find jeans that are both affordable and that fit correctly.  When questioned about the pair that I was wearing (Joe's Jeans), one of my friends replied in shock, "Joe's fit you?!"  What.the.fuck.  We all know what she was getting at...and it hurt my feelings. 


    2.  In every realm, I play to win.  I want all of my adjectives to be modified by a superlative:  The most.  The best.  The greatest.  In relationships, whatever the "she" who came before me did, I want to do better.  And so, when the man that I was dating told me that I was a "bland" dresser and that I never "did" anything "different" with my hair, I was struck.  Ouch.

    Despite the excessive hips/thighs/ass commentary, I am relatively confident with the way that I look-but those particular comments hurt because I thought that he was speaking in fragments--and I strove to complete his sentence:  That I was a bland dresser, and that my hair was unchanging in comparison to those artsy chicks in his past.  You know the type:  The women who dare to make their earings out of old pleather chairs, craft sexy bandeau tops out of trash bags, and mold their hair with a unique concoction of Miss Jessie's hair products, beeswax and mud.  Although I already felt that I knew what he was saying, I asked him to further elaborate on his criticism (because I love torturing myself).  He explained that random passersby would be unable to discern what type of person I was... bougie or bohemian?  Conventional or quirky?  Virginal or vulgar? 

    While I quickly went on the defensive by attempting to justify my choices in clothing and the futility of being able to concoct outfits varied enough to showcase the essence of "who I be," my confidence faltered...Until I saw a picture of one of his pleather-earing wearing, plastic-bag touting, natty-hair molding exes and realized that I much prefer bland to tacky pretension.


    3.  Despite having been a member of lauded honor societies, earning several degrees and generally being considered as "quick-witted,"  I sometimes worry that folks will discover that, in reality, I have moments of pure idiocy.  I am always sure that my retardation will be discovered when asked the time-and I'm forced to discern within an acceptable period of time ( 4 seconds) to which numbers the big hand and the small hand point.  I was surely taught to tell time by age 7, but for some reason when I'm put on the spot, my brain freezes.

    Further, on most occasions, I am unable to work even the most basic of mathematical equations out without the benefit of scratch paper.  I have never been able to retain multiple numbers in my head at any given time. 

    And, although I am generally coordinated, every so often I find myself repeatedly tripping on the uneven surfaces of the city's concrete sidewalks.  While this may not be a direct reflection on my intelligence, it sure doesn't make me look like a genius...and having my bland skirt flutter upwards to expose my big, nice legs and child-bearing hips as I fall to the ground only serves to exacerbate my feelings of inadequacy. 


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    Reader Comments (2)

    I am known to pack a grudge in a suitcase and carry it from here eastward bound until I reach the Pacific seaboard and on back to Chicago again. Before age 14, I might bring myself to literal tears slapping myself about with my own inadequacy, but so near my mid-teens the tears suddenly stopped coming. Now I could scarcely muster a drop to offer my father in the midst of his boyish exuberance over his new wife with I as the best man. Yes. I know a little something about crybabies. The last time I cried, it was because my mother had run away from home (my home that is) and wouldn't answer my phone calls for a period of time.

    Perhaps this is all the better because I have not had a lick of weight over 140 since I entered high school. This might seem the blessing to some big legged, child bearing hip woman (please do chuckle your way through the sensitivity for but a moment), but when I did have a Bally's membership, trips to the gym weren't exactly phenomenal as I transitioned from cardio to shoulder press to bicep curl and still left as deflated as I had arrived. The best I can achieve is tone. Bulk is beyond my capacity.

    So birthday twin, I say celebrate and salute you. I'm sure you do. This entry was a momentary lapse and we all have them. I tell you. During one of Chicago's particularly icy weeks in January, I was leaving Leo Burnett just outside the door at State and Lake. I walk with my headphones on to keep a sense of rhythm and timing in my gait. As I crossed at the light, I decided to hop the curb with a jovial jaunt and suddenly found my right leg sliding from under me in a manner that would rival Ken Griffey, Jr. heading for home plate. Somehow my body managed to roll to the ground and as such my hand landed fairly gently upon the pavement. But without haste, I jumped up and walked on. By land or sea, this crab makes his home any environment he arrives even embarrassment can look good. Ha ha!

    March 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTekhen

    #2 has me formulating the differences between Bourgie Negroes and Negroes with Good Taste....

    March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGator bell

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