Over the weekend I was browsing at some of my weekend blog haunts and came upon a discussion on the matter of letting yourself go as a Black woman. It was one of those discussions where I didn’t feel like adding anything but it did stick in the back of my mind as I sat and simmered on it.
I have a confession, for a few years in my marriage, I did indeed let myself go. Now it wasn’t intentional, I didn’t just wake up one day ok, gotta man, fuck it I can start looking grimy. No, it was a slow process, at one point I was grinding away in grad school and working, my Moms got sick and died which threw a sista into a deep funk. My Mom was my best friend, and when she died it like a hole in the middle of my soul. Just a few months after her untimely death, we bought our house, and next thing you know a sista got pregnant. Mind you as all this life shit was going on, I was still in grad school working on the thesis from hell and seriously debating dropping out.
Well, I didn’t drop out but I became committed to finishing before baby girl arrived which didn’t happen instead I finished grad school and my thesis when she was about 3-4 months old. Oh, while juggling a newborn, my Granny decided to also join my Moms in heaven when baby girl was six weeks old.
I won’t lie, a sista just focused on baby and school work, I took that eating for 2 shit seriously and it was only when baby girl hit 8 months and I realized I weighed more at that point then when I gave birth, that it hit me, I had let my ass go. I should have known when my wardrobe started to consist entirely of velour track suits and suede Pumas, that I was heading the wrong way. Look, an occasional track suit is alright, but when you start wearing them 5-6 days a week because that elastic waistband doesn’t hurt the waist, well its time to reevaluate the situation.
Rest is history, regular readers know the details, I joined Weight Watchers, changed my eating habits and in warm weather months started some walking and in winter, I shovel the snow. Its not easy but I am glad to say I haven’t worn a track suit in well over a year and the Pumas are in the bag for Goodwill.
However while some women will swear that you should never let yourself go for any variety of reasons, it hit me this weekend that sometimes letting yourself go is not always a bad thing. In my case, I was working on my mind, raising a baby and young teen at the time. My resources were limited so doing any niceties especially at that point when we were just a one income family was simply not in the budget.
Sometimes you have to let go of the superficial shit in order to get to your core, in a weird way I am convinced that in letting myself go, I found myself. That said, now that I found myself, I am working on reconstructing myself, the new and improved version of me.
As far as my marriage and letting myself go, the spousal unit loved me through it all, admittedly he seems to like me when I am thinner since when we met I was thin yet his love was just as strong when I was sloppy. The key was and is that I still paid him some attention, I don’t believe a man will creep because you stop getting your hair done, or nails done but you stop handling your business and meeting his needs then yeah he might get his pole waxed some place else.
While I think its important to pay attention to our external appearance, way too many of us forget the internal self and that is more important than how you look. Personally I think new Mamas should get a pass to look any which way they want for at least the first 18 months after their baby arrives. Shit,when you have a new baby as long as you shower and brush your teeth every 24 hours you are golden in my book.
So if you know a sista who you think had let herself go, give that sista a break, maybe she is doing some internal growing.