I am mine before I am anyone else’s. I do not belong to anyone except to myself. My worth as a woman is not contingent upon how desirable you find me. I am my own standard of beauty. I am art.
Art that doesn’t require an audience. To hell with your restrictive gender binaries.
I refuse to be your stereotypical, submissive, respectable African woman. My body is mine. My femininity is mine. Being a Black woman, I am expected to suppress my intelligence, my power, my voice, in order to be easier to swallow — in the words of Warsan Shire, “I tried to be softer, prettier, less volatile, less awake” — constantly expected to bend myself into shapes in order to fit societies one dimensional perception of us.
I refuse to bend myself backwards to appease those who exploit me.
To be Black in a white dominant society.
To be a black woman in a white dominant patriarchal society.
The constant fear of being deemed the angry Black woman, the fear of being subjected to misogynoir, the fear of the constant denial of our complexity and nuance — in order to combat these fears I find refuge in fellow Black women. I find refuge in myself. Because we are all we have. I have so much love for Black women. I have so much love for myself, and I no longer give a damn if my comfortability with myself makes others uncomfortable.