As I sit in my room completely exhausted from finishing what must be one of the most grueling processes in the entire world, (i.e hosting an Arab gathering), I can’t help but notice a recurring pattern. In fact, you might be familiar with it as well because I believe it’s apparent at every cultural gathering regardless of the actual culture, and it kind of goes like this:
Families enter your home (15-30 minutes after the party “started”), you greet them with big smiles and loud “Oh-my-God-I-haven’t-seen-you-in-forever’s!” Then, the older women are directed to the living room, the men sit in another part of the house, and the kids your age? Well, they get to hang out with you for the next six hours.
Starting to sound familiar? I thought so.
Anyway, after that whole process is done, here’s another thing you’ve probably experienced when you entertain the girls around your age at the gathering: Fat talk. Yes, fat talk. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s this seemingly unavoidable conversation that starts when one girl complains about herself (physical image, personality, etc.) and slowly, yet surely, every other girl in the room joins in the negation.
So why am I writing this? Well, to be honest, I’m just tired of it. I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to put my foot down — this nonsense has to stop. Gurl, you need to love yo’ self!
And I’m not even going to tell you in this post that you’re beautiful or you’re worth it. No, honey you should KNOW that already. I shouldn’t have to tell you that. In fact, nobody should have to state the blatantly obvious. Alright, THAT’S the problem. The fact that someone has to tell you you’re beautiful, that you’re intelligent, that you’re the most amazing girl in the world for you to actually believe it. That’s the issue you need to resolve. Because no one should have to tell you that. No one.
Now you might be thinking, “No Noura, but I’m so fat” or “Noura that’s not true, my face is being taken over by acne” or “But Noura — so and so said I’m *insert socially undesirable trait here*!” Stop. Just listen to yourself. Listen to the thoughts in your head, the words coming out of your mouth. You’re basically saying — without realizing I’m sure — that because of those traits, you have the right to hate on the body Allah (SWT) gave you, the mind He granted you, and the personality that’s developed within you. Am I right? Isn’t that what you’re trying to tell me here?
Well let me tell YOU something. It shouldn’t matter what the scale says — it’s just a number (unless it’s really high, then you should totally get that checked because I don’t want you to die). It also shouldn’t matter what your face looks like — looks fade, what’s on the inside is what stays, or what so and so said — you can’t please everyone hun, it’s just not possible. And let’s be real here. You shouldn’t be wasting your time trying to convince others how awesome you are, those who deserve to have you in their life will know that already.
But you know what you can do though? You can love yourself. You can wake up every morning and thank God for who you are. Thank Him for the people that do love you just for being you! You can focus on the positive things instead of the negative. Because that’s something we all tend to do: focus on what’s wrong with us instead of what’s right. It’s just so much easier to do one rather than the other. And believe me, I know it’s easier said than done. But once you start, there’s no going back. Just start with little things, and believe me — the love you’ll develop for yourself will be genuine and irremovable, I might add. Don’t try to force-love yourself — you’ll know if you’re doing it. You’ll tell yourself all these different things, but deep down you won’t believe it.
So, just take it a step at a time. It’s okay if you’ve contributed to ‘fat talk’ or indulged in your insecurities, but just promise me that from now on you’re going to love yo’ self! Promise me that you’ll renounce this socially constructed definition of beauty and create your own. And that you’ll do all your sisters a favor, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, and convince them to do the same!
Society has convinced us that the definition of beauty is this impossible physical standard, but who said there could only be one definition? There are more than a billion people on this planet, so shouldn’t there be more than a billion definitions? Each unique in its own way?
Please feel free to share yours in the comments below!