BY HELEN NIMBE Claustrophobia; is the fear of closed, tight spaces. I never thought I…
We have by default, learnt to hide the things we don’t like about ourselves, body shape, vocal tone, notorious love handles under oversize T-shirt, the absent pinkie on your right hand that gets shoved in the pocket every time you feel eyes on you, or maybe it’s the slight tug of your jacket to hide the bulging chest or even smoothening out and tucking the junk below. All these are coping mechanism to this big event popularly known as life.
Living authentically has something to do with changing the narratives, rather than hiding them and/or following the general public’s opinion. Roshaante Anderson, an intersex black man and YouTube advocate for self-love, demystifies phalloplasty (a surgical construction or reconstruction of a penis) by sharing a video of his bottom surgery (phalloplasty) specifically to educate, motivate and start a campaign for his new project ‘Naked’, a shoot planned for July which he says will not only feature people experiencing body dysphoria, but also body dysmorphia, as well as those with diverse body shapes and expression, portraying their naked truth in the name of self-acceptance, and living true.
Roshaante explained how often we let our journey to self-love be hindered by;
- How we feel about some part of our body.
- Ideas of how we should look, feel, or express ourselves.
- Other’s opinions of us,
- Our own habit of maximizing our shortcomings and overlooking the places we excel.
He advised that we could focus daily on things/traits we love about ourselves, (eye colour, dimples, hips, voice, fashion sense, sense of humour, or perhaps, a good memory) and allowing the love radiate from that stance, throughout the day.
The ‘Naked’ campaign is to promote the human body in all diversities, to emphasize that no two people have the same body type , that we are different in our being , and we should to recognize and embrace the differences by being focused on ourselves, cutting loose the unrealistic ideas we have conjured about ourselves and ignoring hate that may follow.
On self-love, Roshaante encourages people to love who they are on the way to who they want to be, and make sure that even when there’s a desire to change something about their body, it is done from the stance of loving oneself enough to recognize what helps one feel better mentally, and against such, there is no rule.
We have long forgotten being true to ourselves and have jumped on the society’s scale to measure how well we fit in, how much we need to hide. We are sometimes, preoccupied with things some other person has that we do not, rather than seeing the whole picture of how unique our differences are and how they contribute to whom we are. We have let other’s opinion of us influence our self- appraisal; ignorant to the reality that there’s a high chance others secretly feel inadequate too. Daily reminders that we are perfect as we are is needed, even while effecting changes by either taking exercise regimens, dietary approach, gender transitioning, yoga and other practices that promotes physical well-being and mental health.
“Stop doing what they tell you you can’t do and do what you know you’re capable of doing“
Roshaante is reminding us that our skin is our armour and should be taken care of, therefore, we owe it to ourselves to create, the right circle of positive people who are supportive enough to be willing to help us see through their eyes, and vice versa. Self-care also includes being real with ourselves, recognizing those baby steps, like allowing that ghost smile trace your lips when you see a reflection of yourself on a glass door, or adding ten reps of Russian twists to your exercise regimen, or it is simply grabbing the apple beside your favourite chocolate bar in the fridge, or maybe for some, it is refusing to obsess on how we used to, or should be, but knowing that we are who new are and that “who” is beautiful today, no matter what anyone says.
Watch Anderson’s campaign video below.
Follow him on Instagram here: https://instagram.com/roshaante