Ready for love, for adoration, for euphoria
The first day I wore a crop top, I felt like my body was on fire.
I pulled my pants as far up as they would go so that the expanse of my belly exposed would be as small as possible. The decision to wear the crop top took exceeding mental fortification. I wore it, took it off, put it on again, stood in front of a mirror twisting and turning and fidgeting until a voice in my head shouted: ENOUGH. At the time, what I heard was, “Enough with the trying on. Just go, Jor.”
I now realize that I was actually telling myself that I am enough. Full stop. I am capable, even worthy, of wearing whatever the hell I want. This was something I had never told myself before.
There were items of clothing I would never look at because I thought they were not created for my form. That it was simply impossible for my body to be draped in such finery, like my body wasn’t good enough for certain things.
If no one else will tell you, I will tell you today: You are enough. Whatever you desire to wear that will lift your spirits and adorn your flesh, wear it today. Wear it and believe that you are enough. Because you are.
For the longest time in my early-to-mid teens, I wore only peplum tops over skirts or leggings or jeans because they would hide my belly. I cannot tell you how much of my life I’ve spent trying to hide my belly. Or my flabby arms or my folding neck. I cannot tell you how many wardrobe choices I have made solely hinged on baseless insecurities constructed in my head and solidified by family and society.
We are the greatest obstacles in the visualization of our own glory.
How can one be so committed to shrinking themselves that they are blind to their own glory? Every attempt to bury my body beneath baggy clothes was me telling myself “No one needs to see this” or “No one wants to see that”—and that’s a fucking lie. Look at you. You deserve to be seen, to be admired—first by yourself.
We are the greatest obstacles in the visualization of our own glory. We stand in front of a mirror alone and tear our bodies to shreds because we do not like what we see. Because energy is palpable and contagious, people automatically treat our bodies the same way we treat them.
For example, if you frequently make self-deprecating jokes about your body, sooner or later, people around you will also start to make those same jokes and might even take it further. You’ll then be hurt (rightly so), but it is from your mouth they learned to mock your body. We must never give others that kind of ammunition. Let all that falls from your mouth be declarations and affirmations of beauty. When they are finding what they want to say about you, let all their pickings be praise. There is no end to the glory inscribed on your bones. You must never forget that.
I grew up hating my arms. Since I was 13 or 14, I had these huge arms, and I would rather chew broken glass than show them. I had a million-and-one boleros and shawls and jackets, completely ill-suited for this sweltering climate, but I would have rather burned than expose my arms. I spent the whole of my secondary school experience fighting my arms.
Victory came—not because it landed in my arms but because I decided to stop giving a fuck. On my secondary school graduation ceremony, I wore the finest white jumpsuit I had ever seen. It had no sleeves and my arms, complete with their stretch marks and jiggle, were proudly paraded the whole day.
Every inch of my body is divine, ready to be loved, to be cherished, to be adored.
In the pictures, I’m not shy or tucking myself away. The same arms I used to hate are spread wide open, embracing people, waving in the sky, dancing all over. That was my first day of freedom. Since that day, I have no longer hated my arms. Now I slather them in Shea butter and watch them gleam and shine under the Lagos sun. I wrap my arms around my lovers and see them smile from the warmth and security these arms proffer. Now I know, like I should have always known, that every inch of my body is divine, ready to be loved, to be cherished, to be adored. Our bodies are always ready.
We are always waiting. For the perfect time to do this or that. For the perfect time to wear the pretty dress we’ve had for ages. For the perfect time to lose weight before we wear a dress, wear a bikini, or just generally wear what we love. We are always trying to beat our bodies into perfection, failing to understand that our current flesh is the perfection we so desperately seek.
You do not need to lose your belly before you wear that bodycon dress. You do not need a six-pack to wear your sexy silk shirt. Our bodies are always ready. To be adored. To be flaunted. To be loved so deeply that every nerve ending is bursting in euphoria. My darling, your body is ready.
WRITTEN BY Mofiyinfoluwa Okupe