NOT Brave,
BUT DARING...

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Photos by Charis Storms model Leah Faye

 

Loving my body has been a lifelong battle.

Shirt upcycled by KimsCloset94 on Etsy. (Instagram @kimscloset94)

Do those words feel familiar? Do you rub your stomach with gentle, ambivalent fingers? Brush your thighs and ass, longing in the mirror for something thinner, thicker? Do you see photos of yourself from years ago, shocked at how you never realized how beautiful you were at the time? Do you wake up, aware of your body, and sigh?

Why is it "brave" for us to love ourselves? Why is it dangerous to post photos of our bodies online? Why do people feel uncomfortable when presented with diverse bodies? Why do men feel entitled to control our bodies? Why is sexuality taboo until it’s a thin white woman selling something? Why is displaying our bodies, so desired, so loaded with so much shame? I aim to eschew this shame.




 

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I recently came out to myself as pansexual. What this has meant for me is a step in understanding my relationship with my body and how I experience desire, and being desired. A year in isolation away from the harmful male gaze taught me that I have been closeted to myself my whole life, afraid of losing the male gaze and the privileges it brings. And yet, those men who desired me in the past often expressed shame at this, for I am not a thin trophy. I was chasing their desire, and never examining what it was I wanted. Afraid. Ashamed. Alone.

 

I owe my awakening to generations of those who have persevered to love themselves and their partners under adversity. Even with all the privilege of a white middle class upbringing and loving parents, it has taken me three decades to divorce myself of the shame that accompanies thoughts of sex and desire. I am forever awestruck by those who have come to know and accept themselves under more difficult circumstances than I. Why must we demand bravery from those seeking to know themselves, to love and be loved? I choose not to be brave, but to instead dare the world to accept me without judgement.

 

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I hope you love your body, but if that is not possible today I hope you find a moment to love how the dirt feels in-between your toes. I hope you find a moment where you ask not how you can be desirable, but instead indulge your own desires.

Love you always,
-Your fae friend

P.S. Always, support LGBTQ+ activists. A wonderful org that supports Black trans women is For The Gworls. Please visit their site and donate if you’re able. Follow them on instagram @forthegworls.

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