Real girls in their own place.
Not too crazy and just a pinch of naughty...
Ok, full confession: I’m not actually naked right now. But, the title got your attention, amirgiht?!
My purpose here is not to parade around in my skivvies shooting tempting glances at the photographer – the girls of MIMP have that on lock. My purpose here, whether real or imagined, is to get you to think.
As you might have imagined, I think a lot. Like, A LOT. About not-insignificant things and, I’ve learned, a desire to have deep conversations about race and gender and the intersection of all things that make humans interesting and flawed does not make you Ms. Popular.
Given my social nature, I’ve found that my desire to have friends generally trumps my interest in digging into their deepest, darkest fears and the things that I talk about are not generally based on my “naked” thoughts – the thoughts that emerge from the damp, dark recesses of my mind, but are suppressed by my years of social conditioning.
And I imagine it’s the same for you.
The things that come out of our mouths are very rarely the things that we are thinking. The conversations that we have are usually based on some derivative notions or insignificant ideas we have about how the world works or should work.
But, at any rate, they are of the things that we have been told are acceptable in civilized society. On occasion, in small groups of like-minded individuals, you can tap into the things that you’re probably too scared to admit in public, but the exhilaration of those moments is so fleeting and the oppressive sense of loss when the moment passes encourages most to stay in the comfort zone that’s been created for them.
What would MIMP be if all these lovely women just played it safe? BORING. So let’s get naked! Let’s talk about the things we never thought we’d talk about. I’ll share a story and maybe it will help you feel free to share yours. Either way – let’s start a real conversation. A naked conversation.
When I was six years old, I was riding the bus to school and talking to an older, female student who I remember being friends with – as much as anyone can be friends with a first grader. To be honest, she was probably in sixth grade, but she seemed like an adult to me. She was, however, old enough to flirt and have someone flirt back. Having no understanding of these sorts of dynamics, when some boy came over and started giving her a hard time, I felt like I needed to stick up for my friend. And I did.
And his response was that I was ugly.
I wish I could say that it didn’t have any effect, but clearly I still remember it. And it hurt. I had never thought much about the way I looked – BECAUSE I WAS SIX – but suddenly, the knowledge that my appearance had any sort of bearing on how other people perceived me was mind-blowing.
Growing up, I was always only one of the few people of color in every school that I attended and, while I never felt like that held me back, I never felt that I quite satisfied the high standard that was set by all the blonde and blue-eyed belles around me. I judged myself harshly and others even more so for failing to meet my ideals.
Of course, people do grow and change. I can honestly say that I am less concerned with what others things than I used to be. I would be lying, though, if I said that I had somehow risen above a shallow preoccupation with looks and embraced everyone’s difference. I wanted to be pretty then, and I still want to be pretty, which is not easy to admit. That is something that I don’t like about myself.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. It seems like I am constantly meeting or hearing about inspiring women who make me want to be a better person and encourage me to share some of my baggage because even if doesn’t help others, it helps me to let go of it – the first step is admitting you have a problem, after all.
So, was it good for you too?
P.S. Get excited for me to show you a little more than my mind on the MIMP App soon with a self portrait set, “A Day With Valarie.”