And I close my eyes and the mantle falls;
The mule of the earth takes off her burden for a moment.
If I choose to make a mirror of the media,
I am pathology personified, dysfunction and desperation-
The papers say: “Single is she- unwanted and unlove-able.
Her hair is wiry, her skin is dusky and her voice is deep.
And her hands! How manly are they!
And those breasts? If ever there was proof-
proof of the hypersexuality of the Black female!”
and here stand I, scrutinized, picked apart and analyzed.
Animalized, pathologized, all but eulogized…
It feels as though I have been denied my agency.
And here stand I, just who God created me to be-
beautiful, regal, worthy, beloved, capable and dynamic.
I look in the mirror and see this brown skin
and almond- shaped eyes, like the heart of a sugar cane stalk.
The coils and curls atop my head adorn me like a crown,
flowing abundantly, upwardly to the heavens and to my shoulder.
My full lips, emulated by many, adored by all, are made just for me.
The same Creator who counted the hairs on my head
also formed me in my mother’s womb fearfully and wonderfully.
I am created in the image of God. I carry His Spirit.
I will not be crushed. I will stand when all others fall.
Unabashedly, I will thrive in the deserts of hegemony.
I owe no apologies for my talents and my knowledge.
I owe no apologies for my vulnerability and my strength.
I am no pillar of super or subhuman strength.
My emotions will not be denied, nor will they control me.
My anger is not all-consuming, nor is my sadness.
In the contrary, my joy is all-encompassing.
Like the sun, it radiates irrespective of circumstance.
The talking heads don’t know me. They don’t speak for me.
I am so much more than the gendered, racialized and sexualized body
that is daily dissected like an anatomy project.
In fact, that body is a cadaver of societal constructs-
far from the living, breathing, thriving soul that I am.
I am not my body, I am a soul with a body,
and what a beautiful soul I am!