I woke up this morning, habitually grabbed for my phone and scanned through YouTube as I usually do. I watch all the new videos on my feed but this morning was a little different. I had a self-reflective moment at 6:45AM.

Body image. I've talked about this topic many, many, many times on this blog as it's become my release, my therapy, my diary of being honest with myself and my body. But how many times could I really talk about having a positive body image? Not enough. 

Instead of writing paragraph after paragraph of how I think you should be positive, I decided to just answer the questions that SoulPancake x Darling Mag asked during this roundtable. I encourage you to do the same.

Is my body size where I want it to be...

My body is a constantly changing force - sometimes thin, most times curvy. Occasionally bloated but mostly water-deprived. My body is my body. I don't believe I'll reach a size that would matter, make things different for me or encourage me to be a different person. So, my size is perfectly fine. I'm on my way to being healthy, I take time for myself and I feel confident, most days. 

The first time I felt not good enough was...

Oh this is a tough one. More of a personal question as it has nothing to do with my body but entirely of my self worth. My dad had a high standard for me but I never did quite reach that. So without going into detail, the first time I felt not good enough was 6th grade until the time I was 24 years old.

I feel the most beautiful...

when I have a conversation with someone and they're listening, receptive, compassionate and forthcoming. I can name all of those conversations on both hands, most of these conversations born of out of a new friendship. I feel beautiful because I've become someone to trust, someone to rely on, someone to be a friend to and friendship makes me feel beautiful. 

Comparison is the thief of joy.
Read this quote over and over the next time you're comparing yourself to everyone else around you. Learn to be joyful. 

A movement I find most suiting for my life and something I can across happenstance at work is I AM THAT GIRL. If you haven't heard of this organization, you really should dive in. They are the kind of movement that I stand strongly with because every human on this earth should have the feeling of worth. 

Lastly, I want to leave you with this. During this video, SoulPancake interviewed this awesome woman who shares a poem of beauty that I wanted to reiterate here. Her name is Natalie and she is beautiful.

Photo by:  Sabrina Noel Hill

When I am feeling disconnected from a crowd of people I’m standing in front of
When they are staring at me but nothing about the interaction feels of love or understanding
Not fun or joy
I ask them to repeat after me
“I am beautiful”
And some are more reluctant than others

I am beautiful should be a given
Should be a place we begin from
A foundation we are born into
but sometimes messages get delivered like the post
From a stranger always having a bad day

A body should not beg for acceptance

We walk around in these bodies
These protective suits for our tender souls
We walk around looking like tattered undelivered apology notes
My flesh is exactly as I need it to be to keep my spirit intact
But I have been roaming these streets thinking I understood the concept of beauty as it relates to me
I am beautiful If only I was less or more
If I weighed less these shallow fools would want to know me
I’ve been hiding behind clothes trying to camouflage
When myself and comfortable is all I’ve ever wanted to be
But sometimes
Comfortable is as lasting as a love I lost long ago

She said
“You have a beautiful body”

I could not comprehend the words
It was the first time in my entire life I had ever heard these words placed together and directed at me
When im confused I take big ideas and break them into smaller pieces
Make them tiny enough to fit my world into

You have a beautiful body

Meaning me
Meaning Natalie Patterson
Daughter of joe frank and lynne
Meaning mid west American black girl
With skin and eyes light enough to confuse her own kind
Meaning my own kind don’t recognize me

You have a beautiful body

HAVE implies ownership
meaning I natalie Patterson own something I never paid for
meaning somethings are free
meaning I didn’t earn it so I don’t know the value of it
Might abuse or take it for granted

You have a beautiful body

A meaning one
Meaning I natalie Patterson own a single thing
One irreplaceable thing that does indeed die

You have a beautiful body

BEAUTIFUL meaning pleasing or satisfying
Meaning I am appealing and desirable
Didn’t know that
Have always been pretty with a “but If you only” attached
Never been just beautiful
Stated as fact

You have a beautiful body

BODY meaning physical structure
A place the spirit is held in
And i have never held even my lovers long enough to be good at it

You have a beautiful body

I will repeat these words until I am no longer reluctant
Until these words are a given
Until they are no longer foreign in my mouth
I will repeat these words
I have a beautiful body
I have a beautiful body
I have a beautiful body

Until ownership becomes a privilege
Until this skin becomes a perfect home
Weathered and worn over time
A perfect home
Whose walls I know well
Whose stair case
And old floors creak my favorite song
I am my own favorite song that I am just now learning all the words to
But I wanna sing you
Sing you til the song sticks

I have a beautiful body period.