Mind your own womb

 

pregnant bellySomewhere there is a woman: 30, no children. People ask her, “Still no kids?” Her response varies from day to day, but it usually includes forced smiles and restraint.

“Nope, not yet,” she says with a chuckle, muffling her frustration.

“Well, don’t wait forever. That clock is ticking, ya know,” the sage says before departing, happy with herself for imparting such erudite wisdom. The sage leaves. The woman holds her smile. Alone, she cries…

Cries because she’s been pregnant 4 times and miscarried every one. Cries because she started trying for a baby on her wedding night, and that was 5 years ago. Cries because her husband has an ex-wife and she has given him children. Cries because she wants desperately to try in vitro but can’t even afford the deposit. Cries because she’s done in vitro (multiple rounds) and still has no children. Cries because her best friend wouldn’t be a surrogate. “It would be too weird,” she said. Cries because her medication prevents pregnancy. Cries because this issue causes friction in her marriage. Cries because the doctor said she’s fine, but deep inside she knows it’s her. Cries because her husband blames himself, and that guilt makes him a hard person to live with. Cries because all her sisters have children. Cries because one of her sisters didn’t even want children. Cries because her best friend is pregnant. Cries because she got invited to another baby shower. Cries because her mother keeps asking, “Girl, what are you waiting on?” Cries because her in-laws want to be grandparents. Cries because her neighbor has twins and treats them like shit. Cries because 16-year-olds get pregnant without trying. Cries because she’s an amazing aunt. Cries because she’s already picked out names. Cries because there’s an empty room in her house. Cries because there is an empty space in her body. Cries because she has so much to offer. Cries because he’d be a great dad. Cries because she’d be a great mother, but isn’t.

Somewhere else is another woman: 34, five children. People say to her, “Five? Good lord, I hope you’re done!” And then they laugh… because those types of comments are funny. The woman laughs too, but not in earnest. She changes the subject, as she always does, and gives the disrespect a pass. Just another day. Alone, she cries…

Cries because she’s pregnant with another and feels like she has to hide the joy. Cries because she always wanted a big family and doesn’t see why people seem so disturbed by it. Cries because she has no siblings and felt profoundly lonely as a child. Cries because her Granny had 12 and she’d love to be just like her. Cries because she couldn’t imagine life without her children, but people treat her like they’re a punishment. Cries because she doesn’t want to be pitied. Cries because people assume this isn’t what she wanted. Cries because they assume she’s just irresponsible. Cries because they believe she has no say. Cries because she feels misunderstood. Cries because she’s tired of defending her private choices. Cries because she and her husband are perfectly capable of supporting their family but that doesn’t seem to matter. Cries because she’s tired of the “funny” comments. Cries because she minds her own business. Cries because she wishes others would mind theirs. Cries because sometimes she doubts herself and wonders if she should have stopped two kids ago. Cries because others are quick to offer criticism and slow to offer help. Cries because she’s sick of the scrutiny. Cries because she’s not a side show. Cries because people are rude. Cries because so many people seem to have opinions on her private life. Cries because all she wants to do is live in peace.

Another woman: 40, one child. People say to her, “Only one? You never wanted any more?”

“I’m happy with my one,” she says calmly, a rehearsed response she’s given more times than she can count. Quite believable. No one would ever suspect that alone, she cries…

Cries because her one pregnancy was a miracle. Cries because her son still asks for a brother or sister. Cries because she always wanted at least three. Cries because her second pregnancy had to be terminated to save her life. Cries because her doctor says it would be “high-risk.” Cries because she’s struggling to care for the one she has. Cries because sometimes one feels like two. Cries because her husband won’t even entertain the thought of another. Cries because her husband died and she hasn’t found love again. Cries because her family thinks one is enough. Cries because she’s deep into her career and can’t step away. Cries because she feels selfish. Cries because she still hasn’t lost the weight from her from her first pregnancy. Cries because her postpartum depression was so intense. Cries because she can’t imagine going through that again. Cries because she has body issues and pregnancy only exacerbates it. Cries because she still battles bulimia. Cries because she had to have a hysterectomy. Cries because she wants another baby, but can’t have it.

These women are everywhere. They are our neighbors, our friends, our sisters, our co-workers, our cousins. They have no use for our advice or opinions. Their wombs are their own. Let’s respect that.

~Nadirah Angail

photo credit: Joey Thompson, Unsplash

Why do we expect so little of our children?

We’re homeschool lite around here. That means I send my kids to traditional school, but I work with them at home too. It works, and I plan to continue in this way unless something shady goes down and I have to roll up in there and set it all the way off unless I begin to feel that traditional school just isn’t a good fit for them. I don’t forsee that being a problem, but mama’s always got her eyes open.

Anyhoo, I have a cousin who teaches kindergarten at an elementary school that is big on structure and discipline. She told me the kids often have to do their work over if it isn’t done correctly. She gave an example of a child having to do a coloring sheet over because he went far outside the lines. My first thought was, That’s too harsh and it’ll stifle their creativity! We shouldn’t be teaching kids to “live inside the lines.” That’s what I thought, but I didn’t say anything. I just listened. She said she felt uncomfortable at first, being so “critical” of kids, but she now sees the benefit and result of having high expectations.

My concern was their confidence. Wouldn’t that make them feel like they aren’t good enough? But she explained that there is no actual criticism. They don’t tell the children they did a bad job. They simply tell them it wasn’t what they asked for, and then give instruction again. So for a child who colored outside the lines, she’d say, “You see how you went out the lines here? I want you to do it over, but stay inside the lines this time, ok?” She then hands him a fresh paper and he colors it again, staying in the lines this time. The point of this exercise isn’t to teach them to be robots who do everything exactly the same, but to help them develop their fine motor skills. And it really works. She works at a top-performing school, and she is always amazed by how well the children do when they have a clear and reasonable expectation.

I was hesitant at first, but it made sense, and it got me thinking about the well-intentioned disservice we may be doing our children when we don’t push them to do better. Because we love them so much, we always want to encourage them, fill their minds with positive words and let them know we love the work they do regardless of what it looks like. Hi-fives all around for unconditional love, but there is no reason that our love should prevent us from teaching them to be their best. So I was forced to ask myself, why was I so bothered by the idea of having a child do work again? Why was I so convinced that a child’s first attempt should be automatically accepted? Are children so incredibly fragile that they will be destroyed by any level of correction? Of course not. Children tend to be far more resilient that adults, and while that is no excuse to be hard on or critical of them, it does provide solace that they won’t break under the “weight” of edification.

So I took this newfound understanding into my homeschool work with Son, a soon-to-be kindergartener. Before, when I’d have him write letters, I’d praise almost anything he did and just assumed it would get better as long as we kept doing it (and that probably would have been true in the long run.) I can remember times where the work he did looked nothing like what I was trying to teach him and I’d still rush to offer up a hearty, “good job!” But once I stopped with all the praise and focused more on building skill, his handwriting got so much better, almost overnight!

Below is a picture of some of the jammin’ works he’s done. First I had him trace his name and then write it by himself. (The boxes help him control his movement.) I’m not sure how visible it is in the photo, but there are erase marks on the R, Y, A, 3 and 4. Those are the letters and numbers he had most trouble with, so I asked him to do it over, but I told him exactly what I wanted him to do (e.g., “I want you to write the letter A again, but this time make the top pointy instead of round.”) If he had a lot of trouble, I’d flip the paper over and practice with him there. The end result is the neat, completely legible work you see before you. (Clearly I’m biased, but I’m impressed!)

 

20160510_113457I wish I had a picture of some of his older work for comparison, but I just recently started keeping track of what he does. Everything else is probably crumpled up under the sofa somewhere, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say the improvement was great. And the best part: his confidence has actually grown! He’s genuinely excited to show me his work, and–if he’s in a good mood–he’ll even volunteer to do it over if he recognizing something isn’t looking right. He’s never responded in a way that suggests he feels shame or defeat.

But be warned, this method is more work on you, the parent. Taking the time to do it over (and over and over if need be) means more work and possible frustration for you. Wish I knew some kind of workaround to eliminate that step, but I don’t think one exists. I simply accept that it has to be done, and I know that the work I put in now will benefit him throughout life. This isn’t just about pointy As and rounded Bs. It’s about self-mastery. So I hope this encourages other parents to “harden up” when it comes to working with your little ones. I promise you, they won’t break.

-Nadirah Angail

On Disheveled Moms, Dreams Deferred and Necessary Reclamations

photo-1425009294879-3f15dd0b4ed5I was at Target the other day, Prince Day, and there was a woman on the next register with 4 kids. The oldest looked about 8 or 9. Two looked like they could be twins or maybe just really close in age. Anyhoo, the kids were dressed super cute (and well behaved), but the mom looked BEAT. Hair in a messy bun (not the cute kind, but the “I ain’t touched my hair all week” kind), eyes looked dull and in need of sleep, and she was dressed in some sweats that had definitely seen better days. Poor thing was tired. From the looks of it, she was shopping for essentials for the kids: socks, undies, pants, toothbrushes,  undershirts, combs, brushes, etc. She had a whole mountain of stuff. It was so big that the cashier turned off her light so the line wouldn’t get backed up.
I watched as the cashier went to work… $300, $400, $500. The total grew quickly. The mother looked stressed. She probably didn’t expect to spend that much. (We’ve all been there before.) As the kids talked among themselves about which items were theirs, the total kept going, $600, $700… The cashier announced, “Wow, we might break $1000 on this one!” The mother looked like she wanted to cry. She studied the conveyor belt, probably to look for something she could put back. She put nothing back. The kids laughed, whispered and pointed.  They were happy, oblivious to their mother’s sacrifice.
By the time I was out of line, she was up to $780. I have no idea what her final total was, but I couldn’t help but think  about all the things she couldn’t buy for herself because of all the money she spent on her children. I thought about all her unmet needs and all the sacrifices she’d made so her children could be happy and carefree. I thought about all the dreams she’d probably shelved and all the wants she never even allowed herself to speak.
Or not. I could never really know that woman’s story. Could be that she’s usually glammed to the hilt and I just caught her on an off day. Doesn’t matter. The fact remains that mothers everywhere, myself included, struggle to find that sweet spot where childcare and self-care dance beautifully together, where responsibility and indulgence melt into the perfect melody.
Why that’s so hard, I’m not sure. But there is something that pulls at mothers and cheers us on toward our own disguised defeat. Disguised because we don’t see it. We don’t recognize the slow drain. We think it’s normal to clip our own wings. Normal to be overwhelmed, overworked and over it. We halt our own progression as if their successes will be a consolation for our abandonment of ourselves. But when our beautiful children have grown strong enough to usher in their own victories, we will be left with our buried dreams, too cold to give us warmth… unless we unearth them.
And why not do that now? Why not give ourselves license to reclaim  giddy and glee? Or does it seem fitting that mothers should never have a happiness of our own?  This is what I tell myself when I do things that take me away from my children. I remind myself that I have a right to myself, to my own time and space. And you know what? My kids accepted it. They didn’t drop dead. They didn’t go insane. They didn’t start acting like those kids on Scared Straight. They adjusted, just like humans are made to do. And so we adjust together to the stirring of my soul.
Honestly, it’s hardest on me because I now have to stand face to face with fear and doubt. No excuses. No “I can’ts.” Only “I am.”  It’s hard. The progression is nowhere near linear, and I’m not always sure I can do it. In fact, I’m often (momentarily) convinced that I cannot, but those moments pass and life goes on. We all keep moving forward on our separate yet connected paths.

~Nadirah Angail

To the People Who Keep Asking Me to Write for Free

RihannaHey, how’s it going? Hope you’re well. I’m glad you like my writing–I mean that truly– but I just wish you liked it enough to actually want to pay me for what I do. It’s not that I don’t appreciate your generous offer of “exposure.” It’s just that, well, after a long exhaustive search, I’ve yet to find a landlord, utility company, insurance provider, gas station, grocery store, department store, surplus outlet, car lot, restaurant, or any other good and service provider that accepts exposure as payment. So…

Ya know, I wonder, do you get paid in exposure? Does your employer withhold some of your exposure for taxes? Do you get exposure bonuses around Christmas? Is your exposure direct deposited? Nah, I bet you’re old school. You like your exposure handed to you in a paper check. Gotta feel it, know its real. Can’t risk some computer glitch making your exposure go up in smoke. That wouldn’t be good. Exposure’s important. You need it. I feel you on that. I need my “exposure” too.

Or is it that you thought I didn’t have those types of needs? Did you think I live in some Twilight Zone unicorn utopia where exposure is the currency of choice? Did you think I’d take all that exposure and go buy food for my house and then put the rest in the bank for a rainy day? An exposure nest egg of sorts. Sounds cool. And then I’d take just a little exposure and buy my son some new pants. He’s such a rough and tumble thing. Tears up everything I buy him. Thank God for all this exposure.

Or did you think I harnessed the power of Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant, Tony Robbins, Les Brown and the Dalai Lama to become a super saiyan who can manifest her every need with mental power?

super saiyan

Or did you think I was one of those extreme minimalists who lives without money? Honestly, those people are pretty intriguing, but alas, I am not one of them.  I haven’t learned how to get my needs met with plain on happiness, gratitude, sunlight, or exposure. Yea… crazy, I know.

So until I get to that point, I’m going to have to ask that you respect my decision not to work for free. You do understand, don’t you? You’ve got to because I have a sneaking suspicion you collect actual money for the work you do. And you’d probably quit immediately if your boss asked you to work for free, but still here you are in my inbox with generous offers of… eyeballs. You drive a hard bargain, my friend, but I’m going to have to decline.

It’s nothing personal. I’m certain you’re a wonderful person in real life. You just don’t understand what an offer of mere exposure means. You don’t see how you’ve created a totally different and unfair set of standards for freelance workers. You don’t realize the slap in the face when you pay for everything else but assume it’ll be ok not to pay me. You don’t understand the mixed message you send when you suggest that my work is good enough for you to use but not good enough for you to pay for. How does that work? How Sway?Kanye and Sway

Can be real with you? (I’ll go ahead and assume I can since you were real enough to submit such a disrespectful offer.) My main problem is this: you’re straddling. Pick a side. Recognize that my work has value and then pay that value, or write it off as worthless and move on. There are no other options. You can’t say my work is valuable but you don’t want to pay for it. That would make you the politest robber I’ve ever seen… but you’re still trying to rob me. You know I can’t have that. Now if you excuse me, I have bills to go pay.

Peace.

P.S. If you find any retailers willing to accept exposure, please let me know. I may reconsider… Nah, I still want my money.

For my own sanity, I relinquish my blackness (just for a while)

kids
My kids, free, unencumbered

I wrote on Facebook a few days back that I’d like to exist outside of race. I knew when I wrote it that it was the type of thing that needs explaining. I knew most either  wouldn’t understand or would  draw from it a message I never meant to send. But still I said it because it’s my page and aint nobody bout to stop me from saying what I want, feel me?  it was on my mind and I wanted to share. So here I am to flesh out those bare bones and make myself clear.

I don’t live in an imaginary utopia. Aint no postracial nothing around here (even though I recognize that race only exists because we insist it does). I understand hatred and oppression are alive and well, but I cant trod around in that muck and mire and expect to still have energy left for living. Tried it. It just don’t work.

I guess it was becoming a parent that changed things, because I promise blackness never weighed so much before. I was just as aware and informed, just as down for the cause, but there was no fear, no worry. I had the utmost confidence that this world would do me right. But now I have little black children in my care, and my confidence gets shaky. Every time I hear about another black person killed by police, I rush to change the channel before my kids can understand the implication of such an act. Every time a little boy gets sent home for a “distracting” haircut or a little girl for a natural hairstyle, I think of all the hell my usually calm self would have to raise in defense of my babies. Every time I read about black kids not getting the same attention and consideration in the classroom, I question the otherwise satisfactory school I send them to. It’s a lot. It’s suffocating. I can’t sustain.

There is a quote that says, “What you focus on expands.” I promise its true. I see it and feel it, engulfing me, closing in around my neck, inching up toward my mouth and nose. It makes me feel helpless, like no amount of loving and teaching and protecting will shield my children from those whose minds are already set. It’s a lot. It’s suffocating. I can’t sustain.

I miss the days when blackness reminded me only of joy and strength. When it made me think only of Malcolm’s smile and Garvey’s feathered hat. When it made me think only of Bethune’s pearl necklace and Soujourner Truth’s crisp, white bonnet. It was the excellence, grace and steel of blackness that always stood with me and held me far above an anger I could have rightfully settled in. Growing up, blackness was about family and resilience, about making a way and finding a way. It was about the bump and rhythm of black communities, the laughter that never gets drowned out by pain. Perhaps I was just naive, but I’d like to go back there.

malcolm marcus mary sojouner

So if its ok with you, I’d like to suspend my blackness for a bit. Hang it up, give it a breather. I’m not going to do anything to my appearance. I was just hoping I could, you know, be. Was hoping I could get a few carefree days where my only concerns would be what to put in my first grader’s lunch and how to keep my house clean.  Was hoping I could get lost in the humdrum of everyday life, lulled to peace by the regularity and predictability of it all. A girl can dream, right? Free of worry. Free of worry. Free of worry.

That’s important, the “free of worry” part because I need to must raise children who feel free to take ownership of this world. We don’t do cages. They have to know they can go anywhere and everywhere their efforts take them. But how will they know that if they’re trapped in fear? How will they know that if they learn from me, directly or indirectly, that the world is out to get them? I can’t do that to my babies. Might as well bind their hands and feet. The effects would be the same.

Can I really relinquish my blackness? Of course not, but I can disengage and go into my cocoon. I can stick my fingers in my ears and pretend not hear any of the pounding. May not be the best tactic, but it’s all I got. I’m tired.

~Nadirah Angail

WGN’S ‘Underground’ Speaks to Black Struggles of Today

As a child, I always loved slave narratives. Mary Lyon’s Letters of a Slave Girl was a favorite. I felt close enough to the material to be highly interested but far enough away to not feel emotionally overwhelmed by the content. It was the perfect balance. These days, I’m in my feelings a lot more, so slavery-related anything is harder on me. But I aint no punk, so I was totally looking forward to WGN’s new series Underground, about runaway slaves. The experience is so different in my adulthood. As a child I was entertained and motivated by the stories. I liked the way the slaves resisted or found bits of joy in their otherwise miserable existence. I still enjoy those aspects, but now I get lost in the implication and nuance, in the parallels that make these centuries-old accounts still relevant today.

So within minutes of the first episode, I was mad. In the opening scene, where a distressed woman is having a baby, Ernestine, the midwife/head house slave, instructs the laboring mother to quiet down so she doesn’t disturb the mistress. Can you imagine? Even in the throes of a painful and complicated delivery (the baby was breech), slaves were expected to mute themselves in the interest of preserving white comfort. In the name of survival, they had to detach themselves from human emotion. I guess they didn’t even deserve that most basic consideration. I thought of the many women today who are forced to mute themselves for white comfort, the women who swallow workplace microaggressions and backhanded compliments, the women who hold their tongues for fear of being dismissed as an angry black woman. And then I thought of those who refuse to be silenced—the loud, opinionated, often-deemed-“ghetto” sisters who will let you know real quick how they feel and “what you not gon’ do.” We tend to box these women in as rude. (I know I have.) We don’t understand their refusal to squash their feelings. We don’t understand their rebellion.

I was also struck by the scene of the mother who drowns her newborn. While his lifeless body bobs around in hot water, she stands outside entranced, declaring him free. As a mother, I couldn’t help but imagine the type of despair I’d have to feel to go through with such a thing. Without judgment or sensationalism, I considered the feelings of a woman who felt the idea of raising a slave son was too much to bear—too dangerous, too scary, too risky, too dehumanizing. Then I thought of the many black mothers today who, thankfully, don’t kill their sons but do live in that same immobilizing fear. They’re scared their babies will be mistreated, their boys will be scapegoated, their men will be accused and violently tried. It’s a fear I try not to engage, but it’s there. I tuck it away behind a smile and constant prayer.

As strong and capable as men are, our men in particular carry a fragility that makes them more vulnerable than their presentation would let on. Past the bravado and cool, past everything that makes them beautiful, there is a dark and shadowy bullseye that they carry without compensation or choice. They do their best to obscure it; we do our best to help. This point is embodied so poignantly in the scene were Rosalee volunteers herself to receive the lashes that were designated for her young brother. As painful as it was to watch her being beaten, what really got me was the frantic look on her face as she scrambled to figure out how to protect him. Though only a few seconds pass, it is clear the whole world cycles through her mind as she searches for a way to save him from a ruthless rage that wouldn’t hesitate to beat the innocence, joy and even life from his small, unassuming, prepubescent body. Like a sister, like a mother, like every woman who has ever loved a black male from under the foot of white supremacy, she sacrifices herself to protect his fragility—all the while bearing her own bullseyes too.

That scene tore at me more than any other because I couldn’t help but think of my own brothers, my own son, my own husband, my own father. Though just a distant observer who was watching this fictionalized account from the comfort of my own bedroom, I felt the dizzying worry that was so clearly displayed on Rosalee’s face. Some of that was the mere result of good acting. The rest was from an inherited connection that makes this all just a little too real.

Throughout the whole show, I was reminded of the psychological trauma exacted upon black bodies, black families, black bloodlines. We’ve been pushed and pulled into a legacy of deprivation. We’ve lost so much, and yet still are not empty. We’re amazingly resilient and magical in our ability to adapt, so I will continue to go on this weekly emotional rollercoaster. I look forward to next week’s episode.

Killer Butt Injections and the Female Quest for the Perfect Body

perfect bodySigh, the perfect body. What is that? No hypotheticals here; this is a real question. Better yet, let’s put that on hold. What I really want to know is, who told us what the perfect body is? Who convinced a whole society of people that particular body parts have to look a particular way? Who set the parameters of what acceptable butts, breasts, bellies, thighs and faces look like? Is it the film industry, the music industry, magazine publishers, the media in general? If so, how did they get to be so powerful? How did they, in their grand intelligence and wisdom, become the purveyors of aesthetic truth? More importantly, why did we, women of the world, give up our right to define beauty based on our own personal standards? As you can see, I got questions.

Because as I read about Kelly Mayhew, a 34-year-old woman who died after receiving butt injections in someone’s basement, I wonder about her thought process leading up to the event. I wonder how unsatisfied she must have felt when she looked at her body. I wonder if she obsessed over how big her butt wasn’t, over how much it didn’t look like the mythical ideal we’ve all been convinced of. I wonder if she found a shady-looking ad for basement butt injections and thought, “Yes, that’s exactly what I need!” I wonder if any part of her felt uneasy about getting a medical procedure done in a basement. I wonder if she even researched the practitioner or if she simply put blind faith in the intoxicating idea of achieving Nicki Minaj’s posterior. Lastly, I wonder if her fully informed, loving mother (and I use the word “loving” with all sincerity) ever thought to advise her daughter against altering her body in such an unhealthy and unprofessional way. But then again, why would she? We’ve all had a sip (or a gulp) of the “perfect body” Kool-Aid.

Am I a person or a thing?Photo: Thomas Brault

We’re all affected, including me

It’s a lot to carry, this body hate, this body obsession. It clouds our minds and fogs our vision. Makes it hard to see reality for what it is. Because the reality is that Ms. Mayhew’s butt (along with the rest of her body) was just fine. I can say that without having ever seen it because I reject any and all rigid standards imposed on female bodies. Intellectually, that is. I reject them intellectually, with all of my consciousness. But in the recesses of my mind, though, in those shaded areas that only absorb and feel, I am no different. I have felt that same unsettling sense of dissatisfaction. I have made unrealistic comparisons and had fanciful thoughts of “what if,” and “if only.” How could I not?

Apparently, a woman’s body is not her own. It is but a blank screen to have projected onto it the motives and schemes of the world. It is a receptacle, a holding place for lust and distraction. At least that’s the undercurrent. But not to worry, the face of the message is much more palatable. It’s covered in sexy cool and sounds like liberation–or a believable imitation. It sounds like your favorite song, like the tingle of validation, like the buzz of the male gaze, like the opposite of lonely. It sounds like everything we are taught to want to hear.

Hard to believe it’s actually toxic.

Redefining the Perfect Body

When the illustrious Sir Mixalot said, “I like big butts and I cannot lie,” this is not what he had in mind. His goal wasn’t to shame women who don’t have big butts, but rather to stretch a restricting beauty convention. We should all move to stretch the ideas that have been bred into us. We should all move to re-center our thinking around a spacious and inclusive standard that allows each woman to feel complete as she already is.

So that’s where I am now: re-centering, restructuring. I’m retraining my eyes to see myself in a way that I can be proud of, that my daughter can be proud of. Rather than itemizing each part and comparing it to something that may or may not be real, I take it in its entirely and marvel at the strength. I have a butt that cushions my fall. I have breasts that allowed me to feed both my children. (Not once did I have to use formula.) I have a belly that offers me balance on a daily basis, not to mention it grew my children without complication. I have thighs that carry me through life with ease, and I have a face that allows me to experience this world. I’d say that’s a perfect body. Wouldn’t you?

~Nadirah Angail