Body Confidence 2020 - My reflections
Whether you find value in awareness days and months, they certainly inspire discussion and sometimes reflection. October is the power house of awareness events for me - World Mental Health Day, Breast Cancer Awareness and Black History Month.
A focus on Breast Cancer was a big part of my journey to Body Confidence and Black History Month has been a massive focus for me in 2020 at work and with the cards.
One of the things I was keen on with the deck was that it be as diverse as possible, in terms of the design eg the font's readability, the images (given what images I could find/afford!) and the language. So, the original deck represented a broad range of people and left space for others to tell a story. Also, the 'Facilitator' (teacher) guide has a section on how to use the cards to amplify a diversity discussion, however...
...As I was reflecting through BHM, I started to consider what it would mean to do a High on Melanin (HoM)edition of the cards - not for BHM alone but beyond. I considered the challenges associated with blackness and image/body confidence that I and others experience everyday. Some experiences are universal but others are more pointed to the black experience.
What is different in the body image space is that black bodies have largely been considered:
There is already much written on the subjects above and how blackness underpins issues like fatness*, the need for a "Crown Act" and how black women were the founders of the Body Positivity movement (which has now been highjacked into the mainstream), and I wanted to reflect some of this in the cards. *see Sabrina Strings: "Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia".
Last month was #NationalAlopeciaMonth but I wasn't ready. Today, is #National PoetryDay. It's given me a nudge to share this - it's part of a bigger story and has been sitting on my phone for a bit.
Could it be?
There's something coming through
Where smooth and empty once was.
No, don't begin to believe Denise.
We've been here before.
The not really promises.
But the maybes 'this product will work'
There'll be some growth
There is some growth
But, sigh. Oh no,
Then and again, it was a brief, false hope
No real change, not for long anyway
Back undercover - a new wig or piece
And then, a new place
Heard a new maybe
Not really a promise but a confident "you'll see"
That where there once was liitle or no growth
There might possibly be some
Where there was nothing
There might now be something
Progress, could it be?
Shoots, like stubble
Not getting too excited, but a quiet yippee
Some hair, my hair
Covering where the bald patch used to be.
It seems true, it seems real,
Maybe. This time. Just maybe.
Maybe it will grow
Into a crown
Recreate the beauty that society sees
We're beautiful with or without it right?
But how most of us long to be,
with A full head of hair
Flowing or big
Eyelashes, eyebrows, hair - our own
Not that it should matter, but it does
Either way, we're beautiful
It shouldn't define me.
Whatever happens, hair today or none tomorrow
I won't let it define me, I'll be. I am.
In 2012, I published "Seven Stages of Style" (https://damsonbelle.blogspot.com/2012/06/seven-stages-of-style.html) and it remains one of my most read blogs to date. I've recently reflected on how this might apply to Body Image and so I've adapted it into the blog below!
According to Shakespeare in “As you like it”, there are several stages of 'man' – infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, pantaloons, and second childhood.
💭 What will your next step be?