I don't think I ever permitted anyone to keep track of my body.
Rihanna didn't either.
The 60th Grammy Awards brought out the crew - some old homies (Beyonce and Jay-Z, Nas, Diddy, DJ Khaled, Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar) and some new (SZA, Bryson Tiller, Khalid, Brent Faiyaz and Goldlink). Rihanna showed up and showed out as usual. Besides gaining recognition for her South African dance moves in her "Wild Thoughts" performance, Twitter is talking about her weight gain as if she had won an award for it.
Rihanna is fat & out of breath 😩 #Grammys— Whitona (@Whitona)1517192103.0
y’all keep saying “thick rihanna”, but she looks more like “pregnant rihanna to me” 🧐 https://t.co/8pqIQVERtS— meenmeen (@meenmeen)1517192514.0
Considering that there are other things to discuss besides her body - oh, I don't know, her whole bomb performance - it makes me cringe that people take the time out of their day to body shame a woman. Rihanna has opened up about her recent weight gain but spoke about it with honey on her tongue. To her, she has "had the pleasure of a fluctuating body type" and has even given insight on how to dress such a body type.
With someone who deals with (because the word "struggle" is so 2017) weight fluctuation, witnessing the comments on Rihanna's body made me think about the state of consciousness that we seem to be in when it comes to policing women's bodies.
However, the optimistic realist also sees that there is room for improvement.
I've always been on the thicker side and it rendered me the topic of bullying during my elementary years. Being bigger than all of the other kids, developed with a B cup and size 7 in juniors as a 9 year old, and Black - well, it was tough. Throughout junior high, I struggled with my weight in silence but was embraced by others at my new "diverse" school as thick.
It was a crown they exalted me with; though, I secretly wished I was a size two. When I changed high schools for the zillionth time, in a city outside of Los Angeles, I really began to develop a long distance relationship with my body. People around me complimented me on my shape and my body, but I always felt like the 9-year-old who never fit in belly shirts. In college, I got extremely "healthy" and restricted myself to certain foods because I wanted to make a change. I really just wanted to start to love my body and not feel so self-conscious under the gaze of others.
My weight fluctuation is connected to my depression. During my time in New York, I was the skinniest I have ever been - I was also the unhappiest. Spending my time in a toxic relationship, stressed about money, and constantly working 2-3 jobs at a time had me (and my weight) at my lowest. Instagram photos still couldn't capture the dimly lit light of my soul.
Since then, I've been in a happier space (mentally and physically), I've gained a few pounds. I'll admit it.
And I don't care.
Getting to know myself more helped me to establish a better relationship with my body. And it's helping me to realize that I am under no obligation to be at the center of anyone's policing, anyone's gaze, or anyone's understanding.
Looking back during some years I was praised for certain assets (pun intended), but it never fed my spirit or made me feel more connected to my body. It actually disenchanted me and made me feel like I was a soul living in a rented home, out of a spiritual and emotional suitcase. I was a person in a shell and not an embodiment of an existing form. I wanted to be more in tune with myself as a full entity - mind, body, and spirit. It wasn't until I realized that my journey to this destination was not fulfilled under the work of outside strangers that I felt comfortable in the skin and the body I was in.
Rihanna's embracing of her weight fluctuation mirrors the space I'm in now.
When you look at her, she seems to be glowing. Besides her enlightening of dressing for a fluctuating body-type, there is no explanation. And there doesn't need to be any.
It's up to the woman to grow her relationship with her body on her own terms.
How she wants to curate herself from the inside out is her decision. Those that believe a woman should curate herself from the outside in have it misconstrued. We live in a peak of body positivity but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Slender, thick, plus size, or in-between: there is beauty in the art of never explaining ourselves. Because our bodies are not objects to be policed, tracked, or shamed, but a wonderful work of art to be celebrated through the scenic route to utopia of complete mind-spirit-body connection.
Featured image via Giphy