Wise & Young

Friday, June 01, 2007

I'm Beautiful Dammit!

I may be one of the few people who remember the group “Uncanny Alliance”, a which had two hits that I used to listen to, and love when I aw the videos on Video Vibrations. The song “I’m Beautiful Dammit” particularly resonated with me, at that early age I can remember never really being called ugly but people always asking me where was I from, partly because I did not have the Hampton Roads accent. But also because I looked different, well that’s what they said, when you’re growing up anything different is automatically bad. So I needed the reassurance that Uncanny Alliance provided.

Looking back though I think, rather I know that my insecurity about my looks stems from low self esteem. I cannot remember a single time anyone calling me ugly growing up, or funny looking, which is pretty deep because I can remember hurtful things people said to be as early as the 1st grade. So my insecurity was not validated by people but stems from larger issues that stem from my insecurity and disdain with being half African. When visiting NYC while my Mom was getting her Ed.D from Columbia I can remember feeling humiliated when two Morrocans who owned a corner store (is it still a Bodega when non Spanish people own the store?) asked me where I was from, and told me that they had been looking at me for weeks trying to figure out where I was from because I looked Senegalese, but from other various tribes too.

Then getting involved in the African-American gay arena which adores many attributes of being close to white. Straight or curly hair, the lighter the better, both in complexion and in eye color, thin noses et al. I would see these guys who were not in my opinion attractive but had one or more of these traits, thusly being lauded as handsome and all the accolades thereof.

But after awhile I found a few men, some fine but most funny looking to me, men who looked like creatures as opposed to men in my opinion. No matter what anyone says all attention is not good attention. Getting approached by men who look like special effect creations does not help your self esteem. Rather it causes, at least in my case, substance to how I felt about how my outward appearance. The only solace I could find was that often times you see someone fine with someone who looks very opposite.

After awhile things started to change, I started to workout mainly because I was bored and wanted someone to do, and it just so happened that I worked out at a gay gym, actually damn near all gyms are gay or can become so without much effort, and started getting noticed. A few guys approached, others would blatantly stare, some steal glimpses, but I must admit that it helped my self esteem. Well, only helped after I asked two of my friends one a female and one a male what was going on, and they explained it to me.

From there slowly but surely between working out, and just grooming myself better, I started to get more and more attention. Now, not my any stretch of the imagination do I have the body of an Adonis, or the face of Whitney Mugler, but its not as bad as I had thought. Another part of it is finding your market, like with anything in life, everything doesn’t appeal to everyone. Knowing your attributes, and how to enhance them is vital to gaining the most market share. For instance growing up I was always tall I was 6’2 by the time I was 13, so height as being an attractive feature never even crossed my mind. Likewise since I do look “exotic”, there is a definite market for that as well. For example when I have my hair short or bald and wear clothing that drapes with a more urban feel, I get attention, but if I am dressed preppy, not so much. Likewise different areas of the country respond to be differently, in NYC, where damn near everyone is exotic, or different or a mixture of a few ethnicities, West Indian men come at me HARD. Maybe I remind them of their homeland but Trini, Jamacians, Bahians, and Dominicans roll up on me every time I go to NYC. When I’m in the south, I get these creole pretty boys, never really understood that, but hey to each his own.

Growing up different is hard, coming out and being gay in DC is even harder. Its amazingly easy to get caught up in how you look, how the other person looks, and forget that underneath the skin the soul of a person remains. That soul is true determinate if that person is beautiful or not, if that person is a good person or not, and if that person is worth your time or not. My soul is what truly makes me “Beautiful Dammit”.

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  • Awesome blog, man! If you chack out mine, I've been linking to every Uncanny Allaicne sogng on the cd for the past few weeks. Great songs!

    And, even though I'm white (sorry), this post was a good read. Somehow the world around us always manages to degrade our self-esteem somehow. Strength comes when we can realize our own value... and not care what other people view as important lookswise. Sorry... didn't mean to have a n Oprah moment. Take care!

    By Anonymous toonsNtunes, at 3:22 PM  

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