Dear Society, My Body Freaking Rocks.
You’re going to have to get over the fact that I’m sexy. Let’s just get this all out in the open, once and for all, so we don’t have to go over this again, capiche?
For the majority of my life, I have dressed as if I was going to visit my grandparents. Covering cleavage, belly. Doing my best to not draw attention to my already attention-grabbing body.
I would plan my clothes around whom I would see that day, and do my best to dress appropriately, which meant always, always, covering up every inch as to never seem too appealing, God forbid.
I have always let you decide what I should wear. Like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, you have walked into my closet every morning, taking over, telling me how everything is all wrong and I must do it all differently.
I’m not sure when, but somewhere down the line, you got the impression that you get to weigh in on what I wear and how my body looks.
Well-meaning women would say, “Your cleavage is for your husband only,” with a slightly disapproving look if I had a flattering dress on that showed too much.
Newsflash, world: I always show too much if I’m in clothes that actually fit well, because my breasts are huge. That means, in any dress, or normal fitting shirt, you are going to see them, and see them well.
Count your lucky stars because they are fucking fantastic. I’m tired of pretending otherwise or feeling guilty about it.
Get this: I did not sign a contract at birth that said my future husband would own my skin, what I do with it, and especially the level of sexiness I decide to exude.
As much as my husband would like to plan out what I wear — Princess Leia slave costume on the daily — I do not let him decide what I wear or when I wear it. And society: you don’t get to decide either.
No matter how much you try to guilt me otherwise, by telling me how hard it is for a man to control himself, that men are just pigs, and the moment that they have a sexual thought about me I have brought them to the depths of hell, forced to live a life of torture, by my womanly figure.
You have kept me covered in that old guilt since I was a teenager, saying it was my fault when I was sexually preyed on by the youth pastor.
You iced me out of my community, throwing stones at me, happy to wash your hands of my sexiness. You fell at the feet of the youth pastor, begging for his return, while easily ignoring his young victim. I received no calls, no concerns.
But it’s not just the church that doesn’t know how to handle me.
Women: you stare at me and look at me with anger and jealousy if I am sexy in front of your partner, husband, your boyfriend, as if my breasts have magical powers that could end your relationship.
Staring at my breasts does not turn them into brainwashing machines, I promise.
It’s this simple: you don’t get to decide how much or little I show. While I’m at it: you don’t get to label me according to what I decide to wear.
Remove morality from the length of my skirt. My clothes don’t hold a secret code that reveals whether or not I want to get naked with you, despite popular opinion.
I am walking away from the line you drew in the sand, the one between sexiness and brilliance. You say a smart woman can’t be achingly beautiful. That something is wrong with her if she decides to dress in a sexy manner.
You label it provocative and worry about her morals. Clothes are just clothes, they also don’t have magical powers that make me good and loving and moral, though I wish it were that easy.
Hey you spiritual ones, I’m talking to you too. You tell me that I don’t get to love God and also love fashion or enjoy beautiful clothes. You want me to dress austerely in robes, in all black, and always buy from the discount rack.
You act like you’re more spiritual because you own two t-shirts and three pairs of pants.
I will no longer choose between sexiness and spirituality. I will no longer forfeit my femininity just so I fit into your club. Your rules keep on changing anyway.
So I say: my sexiness does not belong to you. I take it back now. I have let you own it for a while as an attempt at being liked and fitting in. But it was never yours to begin with. I revel in your beauty, so now revel in mine.
I feel the sunlight on my skin and I cry, as it is a homecoming. When I look down, I no longer see labels, words, demands. I see the softness of my thighs, my hands, and I fall for it all like a teenager in love.
Don’t be afraid to fall for me too, there are worse things than that.
Maria Palumbo is a healer. She is a dancer in the dark. She lovingly guides women in the retrieval of their own souls through coaching, workshops, and community development. She celebrates freedom from shame in body, mind, and soul. Her work is fun and delicious, making the journey of healing gorgeous and satisfying, like a kiss under the Full Moon. Fall in deep love with your soul by connecting with her on Facebook or at her website.