Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reclaiming My Inner Diva

Many times we women become so wrapped up in doing things for others that we sometimes forget to take time out to do something for ourselves.

One of the things I love to do is hit my local nail shop for a manicure and pedicure at least once a month.

Because of the recession and hour cutbacks at work it was one of the first things I did to cut the fat out of my personal budget.

But what I failed to realize in doing so was that the nail and hair salon trips were a little noticed but important part of the psychological maintenance of my femininity.

When I step out of that nail shop (and the beauty shop), it's a piece of the myriad things I do as part of projecting my feminine image to the world and a part of maintaining healthy self esteem.

Granted after 15 years of toil and struggle and having the slings and arrows of numerous haters hurled at me, you have to have a diva's attitude and serious intestinal fortitude just to survive transition and operating in the world as a transperson.

But cultivating your inner diva is an important part of maintaining your femininity in a marginalized body.

In a world in which whiteness thrives and the beauty ideal for women is a petite, thin, hourglass waisted, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, slim buttocked and narrow hipped body, women of color, and especially Black women are constantly positioned as the unwomen.

You see it when Black female athletes who dominate their sports such as the late Florence Griffith-Joyner and the Williams sisters have their femininity questioned at international events or are challenged to take gender tests to 'prove' their femininity.

Sometimes the shade is cattily thrown by other women who lost because of their own piss poor sporting performances or failures to work as hard as the person who defeated them.

If they are tall and excel in their sport, they have 'that's a man' shade derisively spat at them.

In many cases as a Black woman, you don't even have to be an athlete or an entertainer to have your gender identity questioned.

If you are a Black transwoman, you get even more negativity hurled at you by society as well both inside and outside the race. That negativity can make it challenging at times to have a positive attitude about being the best person you can be.

So because of that heightened negativity, it's important for me as a transwoman of African descent to remind myself at regular intervals that I love me some Monica, I'm a Phenomenal Woman, a proud Transwoman and I'm a beautiful, spiritual person both inside and out.

When I apply my makeup, do my hair, put on my clothes, slip on my heels, and after checking myself out in my full length mirror, I have to feel and believe that I'm the sexiest woman alive.

I have to have the attitude as I interact with the world at large that I can hang with the best supermodels in the world and blow them off the catwalk.

I have to develop and have the self confidence to believe that I could walk onto a Miss Universe pageant stage and walk away with the crown.

Yes, there are times like any woman I feel 'unpretty'. But as long I as do the hard solid thinking about the type of woman I want to project to the word, pray about it, spend the time and effort into reclaiming my inner diva and making it happen, those unpretty days don't seem to last long.

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