The religion of self-love

Loving myself was one of the most spiritual things I have ever done. When you are dark skinned, Black  and woman love does not come to you easily. So I had to create that love for myself and make it my own religion.

Arit Emmanuela , 2019

I have always understood my greatness and I would say that I have always loved myself but at an early age I realized that no one else felt the same way about me. I loved myself but I accepted the hate from others. I had an understanding that because of what I looked like I would receive less respect, less love, less acknowledgment

I convinced myself that I lived in an illusion that no one else was a part of and I sat there, comfortably, for years in a damaging hidden “self-love”.

When we think of God in terms of Christianity, his existence is bent on the fact that we must believe in him, we must acknowledge him and we must love him in order to have a good and fruitful life. What would happen if we spread these practices to our own personal selves? If we believed that our lives would become better just because we decided to trust in ourselves and love ourselves regardless of what we and other people may think about us? If we believed in ourselves thoroughly especially when other doubted us altogether, would we not become the divine beings that we were meant to be? If we made self-love our religion, would our lives not become fruitful?

This is what I decided to do one evening. I got out of bed and I danced. Fully naked. I danced and stretched, and I let my body become aware of itself and its surroundings and its interior. I stood still and let myself feel the beating of my heart and the breath in my lungs. I danced again. I accepted every hair and scar on my body and promised myself that I would love her regardless. That I would never take my own name in vain. That I would speak myself into the world. This became my ritual.

I woke up to the sun shining directly on me, the skin that had birthed so much doubt from others glowing under the light. I was real, this was my body and it was beautiful. So I prayed. Thanking God for creating me the way I was and thanking God for life itself. The walls seemed to embrace me as if to say that I belonged in any room that I entered. The image I saw in the mirror was one of divinity and strength. The world outside my window welcomed me. I was the same person I was the night before yet so much different. What had happened was that I became more of myself, my hands finally felt big enough to hold me and I realized that the only illusion that there was, was believing I did not need to have this feeling.

“I am a feminist, and what that means to me is much the same as the meaning of the fact that I am Black; it means that I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect.” –

June Jordan

Distinguished Diva

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