It was a comfortably chilly Friday evening when I was leaving the hospital. The air felt good brushing against my skin as I exited the hospital revolving door. The sun was about to set and maghrib was rushing in. I looked to the West and could see shades of deep orange, yellow and traces of blue etched in the sky. I thought to myself how no sunset was ever the same and how everyday brought the opportunity to start anew. The sun had a set and known pattern, and even in all her glory, she was given the opportunity to shine and set differently each day. We were only stuck if we allowed ourselves to be. If the sun could do her thang as she saw fit—so could I.
The weather in Northern California was consistent, unlike the unexpected weather of my hometown Chicago. I liked knowing what to expect. I found my car, unlocked it and plopped in the seat. I couldn’t wait to get out of these contaminated scrubs. I had just done a 14 hours shift at the hospital, and needless to say, a sista needed her feet rubbed. I was aching from running up and down hospital corridors all day. Between the man who wanted fresh ice every hour, and the elderly woman whose heart rate kept spiking, I didn’t get a moment rest that shift. The body is interesting. The aching would only peak if I sat down but as long as I was up moving around I felt perfectly fine.
I thought about how I was in need of a halal bae and as I began to partake in a round of self-pity I realized that a slice of my favorite cake would suffice just as much.
A slice of strawberry chiffon cake to be exact.
I pulled up to my favorite grocery store and parked my car. I was on a mission and as I approached the cake section I saw my slice prepackaged and patiently waiting for me. I saw they had a peach flavored slice as well. I tried my best not to get sidetracked. As I grabbed my halal bae for the night I began to head to the checkout lane. This was around the time I noticed a beautiful chocolate skin brotha walking my way. He seemed to have workout clothes on. He was carrying a handheld basket overflowing with groceries so every muscle in that arm was sculpted and protruding.
Now in what seemed to be slow motion…
He looked at my cake. I looked at him looking at my cake. He looked at me. We both looked at my cake.
He walked away.
So I stood in the bread section with pulsating feet and contaminated scrubs staring at the gluten free tortillas. Any other shopper probably would have thought I was comparing the prices not knowing that I was silently having a fat- girl- freakout moment.
Hell, I NEEDED the cake. It was either cake or a haraam foot rub! Which would have he preferred? He would never understand! Then I thought…
Wait, he probably didn’t even care…
Maybe he could give me a good foot rub, I thought. His hands did look kinda strong.
I reminded myself to stay focused and not think about his hands or arms. Right now it was about cake and nothing else. It was me and this cake trying to survive this dunya (this life) and make it over to the akhirah (afterlife) in one piece…or maybe two (if we wanted seconds).
I was doing this for the sake of Islam and my deen. Allah swt being the Most Merciful wanted me to have this cake. He (swt) wants all his servants to be happy…right?
So I awkwardly checked out and mentally compiled myself.
I felt ashamed but then I didn’t feel ashamed. Girls have this thing where we hate for guys to watch us eat, know what we eat or comment on what we have already eaten. Maybe we’re worried about being judged, I am not quite sure. In one of my previous posts, Beautiful or Bootyful, y’all already know I’ve always been what would be labeled a “big” girl. Chubby, BBW (Big Beautiful Woman), thick, fluffy…it’s all the same thing. I’ve never been ashamed to eat in public, but for that one moment in the bread section in the middle of Whole Freakin’ Foods, I knew what it felt like. I knew what it felt like to have your insecurities surface. I knew what it felt like and it didn’t feel good. It didn’t have anything to do with the chocolate brotha man, it had everything to do with me and how I perceived myself for that one moment in time.
So I have compiled a list of pointers for my fellow sista queens. When you have those moments of self-doubt remember this list. These are things I have already accepted, semi- accepted and currently working on:
1. A man who loves you will enjoy every piece of you. Whether you think you’re fat, actually fat or wish you had more jiggle in that wiggle, it’s important to understand that you are truly more than what you look like. It took me a while to fully understand this, and even sometimes I have my moments of regression, but this is the truth. If a man solely judges you off of what you look like then that is a huge indicator of where your relationship is headed. Even if you fit the societal standards of beauty to a “t”, your looks are still going to eventually fade.
2. “Let them eat cake!” If you are in public with a brotha and he is paying for food don’t be silly and order a salad (I mean if that’s what you want, go for it!). So much of how women navigate the world is based on men. Be authentic to yourself. Accept your cake and eat it like you mean it!
3. Negative influences. When your negative inner voice starts to get loud, shut it down right away. Maybe you’ve scrolled through too many IG selfies or perhaps you’re comparing yourself to that one chic who always looks flawless. If this is the case take a break. We live in a day and age where images are thrown at us left and right. Sometimes you just gotta take a moment and chill. Your mental sanity will thank you later.
4. Never say “sorry”. Never apologize for who YOU are. I have to thank my friend Nick for reminding me of this. Women have been socially conditioned to always be “nice” and to always say “sorry”. If someone insults you don’t just sit around and take it and most importantly you don’t owe anyone an apology for being you. Religiosity does not equate into being someone else’s doormat or self esteem booster. Remember Umar (RA) was baaaadddd as they come, he did not play with folks! Also, Aisha (RA) would have to tell chicks off if they got out their lane.
5. If it aint one thing it’s another. If you don’t remember one thing, remember this point. If it’s not one thing you don’t like about yourself it will be another. Some people are poor others are considered “ugly”. There will always be something, best believe. Just live for right now in the moment and be open to new experiences. Enjoy yourself and enjoy those who love you just the way you are.
Moral of the story is: have your cake and (if he doesn’t want it) eat his too!
Oh yeah, don’t forget to say Bismillah.