I am just going to say it.
I don’t know how to embrace my sensuality, my sexuality, my womanhood.
I really don’t. It’s something I struggle with as a brown woman. I feel ashamed. Ashamed of my sex, of my curves, of my breasts, thighs, pleasures. Ashamed of the way I feel, the way I express. I feel ashamed for being a woman.
I remember my aunt told me once that I need to stop wanting to secretly be a man and come into being a woman, learn to be a woman. But I wanted to tell her this: no one taught me to be a woman. No one taught me how to embrace me, as a woman but rather, they taught me how to be ashamed.
But rather, I was taught to not be a woman.
To cover up the fact that I was a woman and my whole life, the men around me had it so much easier, the men I knew had it so much better. They were to be served, to be coddled, to be allowed to roam, to be given space and freedom but I was made for the kitchen and he was made for the head of the table.
I always wanted to sit at the head of the table. I wanted it to be my seat too. But how… how, when I am a woman, and he is a man “worthy” of the seat?
How do I do that when I am a woman?
How do I learn that my femininity is not my downfall but rather, what gives me strength when I know I am seen as a walking, talking sin?
How do I learn to accept that my body comes like this – with thighs, with breasts, with an ass when my whole life I have been told, “cover up or else the men will stare. Or else the men will want to touch
“Do you want that kind of attention, is that what you like?”
“Don’t wink. Only men can wink and not good women so don’t do it otherwise men will think you’re loose.”
“Cover up or else God will be angry, He doesn’t like it. If you’re a good girl from a good family, you’ll cover up.”
The shame of even looking like a woman, forget even feeling like one. Why are we shamed for feeling something so natural? For letting our feelings empower us? For having desires, for wanting it?
How do I learn that my desires are mine alone and it isn’t wrong to let it wash over me? That I do not need to hide that I love the feeling of my own sensuality running through my veins making me feel almost divine? That the curves of my body wasn’t made by a sinner but by perfection? That I love the intoxication of pleasure, of sensuality?
How do I learn to love being a woman when all the women I know have suffered so greatly, so miserably because… they were women? That they were forced to conform, to sacrifice, to cover, to hide, to make themselves small enough so much so that they became empty vessels only ready and willing to serve the men of the family and God.
There has never been such a thing as a brown woman feeling pleasure, being pleasured. It seems to be something that only our men can feel and express, because if we do it, we’re whores, we’re sluts, we’re tainted and shunned. They are ashamed of us and therefore make us feel ashamed for looking, feeling and being a brown woman.
Till today the older women of my culture and religion have the power to make me feel disgusting for looking too much of a woman. For being too much of a woman.
“Why must you wear such a top! The shape of your breast can be seen, it’s disgusting.”
“Your butt is so huge how can you be okay with it? Look how big it is in those jeans! Wear a longer top!”
“You want the men to stare at you, is that it? Do you want them to stare at you up and down?”
”Don’t be so loud. Men don’t like it.”
“Only loose women like it when men touch them, when men look at them. Don’t be like that.”
“Please be careful with your opinions, don’t need to make it known.”
“Serve first, eat last and quick. Make the coffee for them.”
“If he wants to sow his seeds, he can, he has needs but don’t you even dare think about it because I will disown you.”
But don’t I have needs? Don’t I want to be touched, caressed, loved too? Don’t I deserve to feel pleasure pulsing through me too? Don’t I want to sit at the table and join in the conversation too? Don’t I want to be able to be free, in my words, in my thoughts, in what I wear? Why can’t I? Why can’t I? Oh, because I am a woman.
Truly, I have grown up feeling it is a curse. It is a curse to be a woman, a brown woman. We are the epitome of Sin while our men are allowed the pleasures of the world.
But I don’t want to feel that way. I don’t want it. I want to love it. I want to own it.
I want to be a brown woman in every way and love it. That it is my right. To feel pleasure, to be pleasure. To be wicked and loud.
The women before us, they were taught to swallow whatever anger, hurt, injustice, abuse they faced and brushed it all off as “that’s just the way of the world.” or “as a woman, that’s just how it is. it is a man’s world, accept it and you’ll be much happier.”
But I am not happy. I am not happy that I have been taught the same thing over and over, that I was taught to hide my own sensuality, my own self. Why is it, just because I am a woman, I have to make myself so small just for the men around me?
Men have never made such a sacrifice for women before so why do I constantly have to do it? We have been taught to give up everything for the men in our lives, we’re shamed for our sex, including our pleasure and who we are inside.
I no longer want to let myself feel ashamed or allow the people of my culture to shame me for the shape of my body, the weight of my breast, the plumpness of my thighs, the seduction of my silhouette, the passion in my veins, the words in my mind. I will no longer stand for it, I want to unlearn this shame. I want to be free of it.
But a brown woman’s freedom always comes with a price. When we resist. When we realize what we have been taught is the reason for all the tears and silence of all the woman before us. The reason for all their blood, sweat. But they have come to terms with it. They have accepted their place, these rules and chains.
But I will not. I never will.
We, as brown women deserve it.
We deserve a place at the table. We deserve to have choices on what we want to wear.
We deserve to feel pleasure. We deserve to feel and own the sensuality, the sexuality, the womanhood that runs through our body, our veins and soul.
It is no longer a weakness.
It never was a weakness.
And that is why we’ve been taught to hide it for the day we own it, is the day we break these chains of shame, of honor, of reputation that our men have created for us.
It is the day we, as brown women, come into power and our men finally, fall.
I will keep unlearning what I was taught and learning that being a woman of color, a woman of passion, desire and pulse is my biggest strength.
That my sensuality has never been my shame.
It has been my right all along.