Jan 13 2012

Cross-Post from Bionic Beauty: I Am Beautiful…Because I Am by Kathleen Cross

I have been incredibly excited to share this week’s Powerful Beauty guest contributor. Kathleen Cross is the author of two Harper Collins novels, Skin Deep and Schooling Carmen. She has been a guest on numerous radio and television shows, including Oprah, Montel and Dr. Phil. In addition to being an acclaimed author, Kathleen has her own website KathleenCross.com. –Jami at Bionic-Beauty.com

 

There is incredible power in being loved unconditionally.

Love allows us to see ourselves as the beautiful creatures we are, and if we are open to the lesson, it will teach us what we are truly made of.

I learned that from my former fiancé Todd Barr, who knew that at forty-something I had plenty of internal and external flaws, and chose to focus instead on what he found beautiful in me:

In His Eyes
I am sweet marrow
wrapped in angel’s flesh

strength’s elucidation of grace
I am

Stillness in motion
Heaven and earth alloyed
I am the only goddess
and he comes undone when I dance

I am alto now, soprano then
aria in rhythmic breaths

lyric in silence
soloist and symphony abreast


I am the matchless voice
and he lip syncs as I chant


I am sapphire


I speak watercolors


in my lover’s eyes


I shine

 

I penned those words after Todd informed me during an argument,

“Don’t tell me not to put you on a pedestal. It’s my pedestal. I put you up there, and there’s nothing you can do or say to remove yourself, so just shine.”

The trouble with that kind of admiration is what can happen to you and your self-esteem if the admiration is suddenly withdrawn.

Todd taught me that too when he drowned in the ocean trying to save a friend caught in a riptide.

I was beyond devastated by the loss of my best friend, and, lost in the dark fog of mourning I arrived at the irrational conclusion that the only way something so terrible could happen to me is that I deserved it.

I deserved it.

That one ugly thought burrowed itself deep, obliterating my self-esteem and leaving me unable to feel beautiful or worthy of love for many months to come. I retreated to a deep dark cave where I was sure my ugly self belonged, and I stayed there much too long.

A mohawked skater-dude in line with me at the bank has no idea he helped to nudge me out of my cave. Written on his t-shirt were the words, “Welcome to Earth, where ugly things happen to beautiful people.” I found a powerfully beautiful message in it for me.

We come to Earth beautiful. Beauty, like love, is our birthright. We don’t have to do anything to deserve it any more than we can do something to deserve those experiences we interpret as “ugly.” Earth is our pedestal and it is our birthright to shine here. Todd already knew what it took me a while to learn.

I am beautiful, because I am.

Kathleen’s words are absolutely incredible and emotionally moving. I received her contribution by email, read it, and it literally stunned me. I hope all the Bionic Beauties out there love it just as much as I do. ~Jami


May 23 2011

Sometimes ‘Scientists’ Really Aren’t

If you haven’t heard or read about Psychology Today blogger Satoshi Kanazawa’s recent proclamation that he could “scientifically” explain why Black women are the least attractive women on earth, consider yourself fortunate to not have that garbage in your head. (The article was quickly removed from the Psychology Today website, but if you really care what he had to say, you can find screenshots of that mess at BuzzFeed.)

Though Psychology Today hurriedly flushed this nasty PR problem, I’m keeping the conversation about the article alive because I believe Kanazawa has pulled the lid off an ugly little secret many people are hiding. He was idiotic enough to reveal his bias against Black women by trying to scientific­ally rationaliz­e it, but there are millions of others (of every ethnicity) who don’t even know or admit they have it.

Ideas about beauty are not “objective­,” they are learned. Western culture has systematic­ally diminished the value and dignity of Black women for centuries, while consistently offering Euro-featured women as the “ideal” or “standard” for what it is to be beautiful or desirable. The best thing about the disgusting sentence I just wrote is that if something can be learned, it can be unlearned and/or re-taught.

That a so-called scientist would try to “prove” why one group of women is inferior to another speaks volumes about him, but offers no insight into an issue as socially and psychologically profound as white supremacy.

If you read my previous post “The Darker the Berry…The More Invisible?” you saw how the LA Times Magazine’s article “The 50 Most Beautiful Women in Film” offered an excellent example of media bias against non-Euro-featured women. I received a lot of positive feedback about that post, but a few people wrote to let me know that LA Times Magazine doesn’t “owe” our brown-skinned daughters anything.

Right. Just like the Montgomery city bus system didn’t owe Rosa Parks a seat in the front of the bus.

The Media’s relationship with us is supposed to be reciprocal–we watch/listen to their broadcasts, buy their publications and support their advertisers. So, while I’m paying attention to the L.A. Times Magazine, why shouldn’t they be paying attention to whether my brown daughter sees herself in their public definition of beauty?

Ev­ery parent of a little brown girl knows how creative and diligent we must be if we are to successfully counter all that social brainwashi­ng and instill a sense of beauty, value and dignity in our daughters. But, we should not be the only ones doing that for them. ALL PARENTS of ALL CHILDREN should be instilling in their sons and daughters an appreciation of beauty in all of its diverse human expressions.

Why?

Because it is right.