I Is For Inspired | The Deep-Rooted and Complex Place


aml beauty tour-2This post is part of The Layers of Beauty Tour created by GG Renee of All the Many Layers. Follow the tour through the blogs of 25 women exploring the complexities of womanhood and beauty from A to Z.  Click here to keep up with each post and enter to win a giveaway package of goodies for your mind, body and soul.   #LayersAtoZTour

If I told you that you’re beautiful, some days you wouldn’t believe me.

Some days you get caught in the online web of believing that your face needs to be beat. You keep wondering how in the world Beyoncé could have possibly woken up like that. You pick yourself apart. You hate your feet. You hate how your clavicle protrudes in every photo, no matter how much you will it to do the opposite. You feel like a pariah in a world that praises curves and worships contours.

If I told you that you’re beautiful, some days you wouldn’t believe me.

You would remember that time during freshmen year of college when you sobbed to your best friend and told her that guys liked her more because she was light-skinned. You would remember trips to Miami where your dresses never fit quite right and you never fit quite in with the salacious South Beach scene. You would remember feeling like every set of male eyes always landed somewhere other than on you.

Back then, if I told you that you’re beautiful, you would not have believed me.

But, today, I am telling you that you’re beautiful.

And, today, you will believe me.

Today you’ll remember that male gazes and likes on Instagram pages are not the metrics of beauty to which you heed. You’ll abandon this idea that beauty starts and ends with what people deduce from what they see. You’ll know that beauty comes from that deep-rooted and complex place, the rich and rare combination of self-worth and self-regard and inspiration.

You, my love, are an inspired woman.

deep rooted 2

That’s where your beauty begins. It comes from this sanctuary in the pit of your belly, a place that is ignited by vision and conviction. A place moved by what you extract from interactions and observations, both grand and molecular. A place where you translate that inspiration into words that set the world on fire. Your beauty rises because of the vessel you choose to be, the purpose you choose to honor and the calling to which you choose to surrender.

An inspired woman is a beautiful one.

She has planted her feet firmly in the things that mean the most to her instead of giving in to the whims of the world.

For the world, beauty will always change. It will always be this insatiable and unsatisfied beast. It will always favor someone in one moment and shun them in the next. But, for an inspired woman, her beauty can’t waver. It isn’t up for debate. It’s not susceptible to the shifts in someone else’s standards.

No, for an inspired woman, beauty rises from that deep-rooted and complex place.  For an inspired woman, her beauty is all her own: beginning to end, top to bottom, left to right. That definition of beauty propels her throughout the voyage. Serves as her bridge over troubled water. Feeds her, keeps her and carries her.

You, my love, are an inspired woman. Hold that. Know that. Keep that and carry that. When I tell you that, believe it.


Broken Modes Of Thinking

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She knew her mind was her greatest currency. At least in the quiet corners of her head, she knew that. She knew that some women were curvy and some women were witty and some women were nurturing. But she knew the greatest gift given to her that she had to offer back to the Universe was her mind–the thoughts always roaming through it, the dreams always manifesting in it, the passion that shot from her heart straight to her mind, and then through her fingertips.

She knew her mind was her greatest currency.

She knew that she wanted other people to see her for just that–her mind. She wanted to be recognized, understood and adored for her mind. She knew that much. She knew there was a certain relief and happiness that accompanied knowing what you had to offer the world, and being audacious enough to offer just that.

But, then it started happening. People started seeing her for her mind. Men, especially. And all of her broken modes of thinking starting rising to the surface. And the very thing she wanted, to be seen and heard for her mind and not for her body, scared the shit out of her. It unnerved her. It confused her. Because she had been living so long with broken modes of thinking. She had made so many accommodations for the men who only wanted to entertain her body, the men who did not want to indulge her complicated, complex and beautiful thoughts. She had desensitized herself to herself, to that unyielding appetite for people to appreciate her for her mind. Instead she survived off the snacks of casual connections.

You couldn’t spread thoughts out on the bed. Couldn’t graze your fingers over them or listen to their breathing speed up. You couldn’t take their clothes off and then put them back on. There wasn’t anything black or white about thoughts. Nothing rudimentary or animalistic about letting someone in to your head. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t straightforward and it wasn’t what she was used to. She was used to offering only a fraction of her mind, repressing the rest of it because offering her greatest gift to men who only wanted to unwrap her physical elements just didn’t work. It wasn’t the DNA of those situations, and she knew the DNA of those situations a little too well.

So bit by bit, moment by moment, she set out to repair her broken modes of thinking. She set out to stand firm in the beauty, the power, the limitlessness and the gift of her own mind. She set out to let that mind command the attention she always believed it deserved. She set out to reverse the modes of thinking that she had let inhabit and litter her beautiful mind for far too long.

It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was tough as all hell. And like an addict to a line, she returned to her broken modes more times than not. Her broken modes were comfortable. They always felt safe. They always reeked of the familiarity she sometimes thought she needed. She knew them and she trusted them and she realized she had made it this far with them. But, she also knew she was standing at a rocky fork in the road. She knew continuing down a path with broken modes of thinking would only lead to the same conclusion she also knew too well–windy roads with mixed signals as traffic signs and dead ends as destinations.

It was one thing to believe that her mind was her greatest currency; it was another thing to live out her life and relationships with that belief at the epicenter. It was another thing to wait patiently for others to see and understand the power of her mind. It was another thing not to always succumb to the default of propping up her tits and accentuating her ass. It was another thing not to let the devilishly doubtful thoughts run through her head of not thinking she was pretty enough or that she would never be that girl who turned heads when she walked in a room.

Deep down she knew none of that mattered. Because her mind was her greatest currency.


One Hell of a Hairy Woman

Guest Post by Dana Sukontarak

Last night, I came across an article about why women should have their vaginas waxed before birthing a baby. After reading the title, I was certain it would be a parody article, a way to explore the many ways women are held to ridiculous and brutalizing beauty standards. Much to my chagrin, it was not. This woman really believed waxing your nether regions was a warm-hearted courtesy to the delivering doctor and any onlookers, as well as a “non-negotiable” for all women.

The author compares it to brushing your teeth before seeing the dentist. I’m sure if a bloody, 8 lb. baby were preparing to smash its way out of your body by way of your mouth, it wouldn’t matter if you brushed. It also wouldn’t matter if you had a little mustache hair. Just saying.

Dana Sukontarak
Dana Sukontarak

For a split second, I did sit here, contemplating my prickly pubes and my long hair with split ends to my scalp and my dirt-encrusted, two-years-unpainted fingernails and my 25-year-old ghost town of a womb—wondering if I really am a woman. A woman wouldn’t wear sandals without a pedicure. A woman doesn’t fart (and laugh about it). A woman would never consider letting a medical professional deliver her baby while there were unsightly scraps of (gasp!) hair around. I’m no expert in childbirth, but I’m pretty sure your pubic hair won’t be a topic of conversation at all—it will probably also be the least gross thing anyone sees that day. It’s pretty unlikely any of your Twitter followers will happen into your delivery room and start a hashtag about #YourDisgustingPubicHair.

This is what I want for women—to consider the bigger picture of all things. Will a freshly-waxed vagina in the delivery room really help you, or the doctor, or any women? If anything, it will only help perpetuate the mannequin standards we unfairly impose on women, ourselves included. A woman who is preparing to bring life into the world deserves a back massage and crudité platter, not to have her pubic hairs ripped out at the root so that no one is possibly offended.

What I want for women is to take pride in our bodies while still understanding that our bodies are not the true essence of us. They are temporary, they are fragile, they are ever-changing. The more you realize how fleeting the physical is, the more things shift into perspective. Pubic hair is no biggie.

What I really want for women is for us to broaden our ideas of beauty. Why is body hair gross? Because we said it is, and now it is? Why should we aspire to having a Barbie waist and a really big, somehow undimpled and unrippled ass? Why do any of us pay to enlarge the sacks of mammary fat we carry around? Why is it preferable to some women to pay hundreds of dollars for someone else’s hair, than to wear their own? Who decided which looks better? Our opinions can’t help but be influenced by society’s prevailing beliefs—unless we are aware of the forces at work and mindful of how we interact with them.

That said, wax if it makes you feel better about yourself, but at least think about why that would make you feel good in the first place—and whether you would feel like less of a woman if you didn’t.

I’m one hell of a woman, if I do say so myself. Hairy, too.

Dana Sukontarak is 25 years old and lives in Hyattsville, Md. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2012 with a B.A. in Journalism. She enjoys reading fiction, writing non-fiction, and learning about the world.
Blogs: www.danasukontarak.blogspot.com, 50 Books in 2014, small suggestions