“Pick the other one, she’s prettier”
“What happened to you, you gained so much weight”
“Why do you act like you’re better than other people”?
“I’ve thought about dating you, but you know how black girls are…”
These are some of the things that people have said about me, or to me.
Words that used to crawl under my skin, seep into my bones and take hostage of my mind until I could think of nothing else except that negativity.
Welcome to Day 9 of #31daysofSelfcompassion
The theme today is Choose your thoughts
In the past, whenever people uttered crass or unwelcome comments about me, I would ruminate on them for hours, sometimes days or weeks. I’d take the thoughts and dissect them, familiarize myself with them until I made them mine, until I couldn’t tell whether the thoughts were mine or someone else’s. It didn’t matter anyway, I accepted them as truth about my sense of self.
Internalizing other people’s opinions about me was draining, opinions that I couldn’t always escape. I resented the fact that people had so much power to easily change the way way I felt about myself, how easily a comment to ruin my whole day.
At first, I believed that I just needed to let go of those people and everything would be fine. But the truth is that harsh words often come from people who love you most, people who think they mean well. Additionally, you don’t always have the energy to call out problematic comments because honestly it’s simply too exhausting to explain yourself, even worse when the other person lacks compassion. That’s where curating which thought you entertain, is important.
Especially for marginalized communities, there isn’t always the option of walking away or speaking up because for many, wherever you are the space you occupy is inherently hostile to your survival. In the current climate of anti-blackness, transphobia, sexism and xenophobia, there is a sense of helplessness that can quickly take root in your mind when you understand that systematic injustice will take time to dismantle. That’s why it is critical to be ruthless about what you allow in your head. Make your mind a safe haven for yourself by being intentional so that dis-empowering thoughts have to pay a steep price to take root, while comfort and self-compassion and empowerment get recruited in abundance. Practice ruthless discrimination by always asking “does this thought serve me”? Then make a decision from there to constantly make your mind, your body, your own safe zone.
What you are thinking?
Isabelle Masado writes about body compassion on her blog "The Dear Body Project". She knows all too well that the personal is the political, is the community. As such, there is no discussing body compassion without talking about the assault on black bodies, trans women, and people with disabilities. Her mantra is, "How can I live in a way that makes room for you too"? She writes to examine, to heal, to redeem.