Wednesday, June 6, 2012
on beauty, coda to the coda
I've gotten some kind emails and words about yesterday's post, and I wanted to write an addendum to some things that have come up:
1/ I may feel shame in connection with my body, but I also love my body. It has, after all, give me two beautiful things: my daughter and has been a subject in my poetry and while the poems I won't say the poems are beautiful, I will say writing them has been beautiful.
2/ I grew up in a house where my mother would disparage her own body. She was critical of herself and desperate to lose weight. She had PCOS too. She also grew up being called Crisco Fat in a Can by her father.
I hope to snuff out my own vocalizations about dissatisfaction over my own shape because I don't want Maya, who may have PCOS too, begin to feel that niggling ache. (But who am I kidding? This culture with its advertisements and glossies aren't going to change any time soon. Not the way I hope it will.) I tell Maya she is beautiful at all kinds of moments--when she is wailing, when she is proud of something she's done, when she's falling asleep. I tell her she's clever and smart and silly, and I know some parenting books will frown on that kind of labeling, but she's so much, and I'm not going to refrain from telling her. I will tell her that I'm proud of her, because I am, and I'll hope and hope that she can continue to see the beauty in everything too.
And, of course, my post failed to mention a lot of what's critical to the conversation on the original postings, elements I find important too, which greatly reflects gatekeepers and how beauty (and race and gender) factor into that gatekeeping. There's the male gaze and whitewashing and so much else. Beauty creates a riot inside of me and breaks my heart--in all the best and worst ways.