V

"It’s been an arduous journey for me to feel sexy and comfortable under my own skin, and it will continue to be a lifelong work in progress. I’ve been told by my culture to watch my weight, maintain a small figure, and refrain from sexual expression ever since I was six years old. To this day, it has impacted the way in which I view my body, sexuality, and personality against societal and cultural standards. I’ve essentially grown immune to the negative messages I received about my body from my parents, relatives, and family friends. It also means that I’ve internalized them as truths – that my body is indeed too bulky, my waistline is non-existent, that I am unattractive woman by my culture’s standards. And though I’ve always had a high sex drive, I never felt comfortable with sexual exploration and expression in fear of backlash. Thus, it has been difficult to feel sexy when society consistently suggests otherwise. But over time, I learned to embrace the reflection I see in the mirror. I now experience less of an urge to squeeze in the sides of my stomach or thighs and instead, combat the negativity with self-love through positive self-affirmation whenever the inclination arises. The parts I once hated most about my body are now parts that define my sexiness and strength. Without them, I do not feel complete (literally and figuratively). Ultimately, self-love and appreciation of the imperfections that make me human and unique enables me to be expressive, independent, beautiful, and sexy."

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