These days I go by a lot of names, but you may call me, Salmalin. My relationship with sex and sexy things has always been complicated. My relationship with beauty and attractiveness even more so. When I hit puberty I realized many things at once.
1 I would never be tall. For some reason I always found the tallest people to be the most attractive. The taller, the more powerful and elegant, the more adult and sexy, the beautiful and gorgeous. My doctor told me around 12 that I, would never be taller than an average 8th grader. I was devastated.
2 My body was going through changes I didn’t ask for. As much as I admired my mother as a person, I don’t think I understood that one day being a “girl” meant becoming a “woman”. It was distressing, and frustrating to find myself changing in ways that didn’t match my “boy” friends. I guess I didn’t really see a difference between them and me.
3 Pain was going to be a big part of my life. In, so many ways.
4 I had little to no sexual desire and was confused by the preoccupation of friends wanting sex/sexy things
5 Finding opposite gender attractive= normal. Finding same sex attractive= unusual. Finding that sex nor gender having no bearing on attractiveness, absolutely odd to other humans. It was so, obvious. Pretty people are pretty.
6 No one dates black women
It, was a lot to handle. Since then people have tried to label me in many ways. Queer, non-binary, bi, pansexual, Gender Fuck, Gender Fluid, woman who takes low amounts of T, Trans*, woman, mostly straight, and this is just around my gender and sexuality. In my own head, I choose to not label myself and just be, me.
Shortly after entering puberty, I started being attacked with messages about myself specifically about my body and it’s sexines and beauty. My body was a weapon that would ruin the lives of men. That I was destined to become “another statistic” following the stereotype of young black women. I was not smart enough to know if someone loved me and would, get pregnant and ruin my life and the life of those around me. I was shamed for wearing the same clothes I wore the summer before. I was forced into bras and dresses and shamed for having any signs of having a period, ever.
Time went on and I started to be tortured by a man near my age who lived with me. He degraded me, caused me physical pain, tied me up, and threatened me with knives and violence. All the while these things happened telling me I was weird, unattractive, and not good enough. He’d whisper to me that I liked it. In the end he raped me. In therapy we found it probably wasn’t the first time I’d been assaulted.
I got out of that situation and found myself… in an odd position. Feeling sexy feels dangerous. Feeling feminine feels, odd. I feel ugly and ignored but desire to explore love and polyamory. I’m unsure if monogamy is right for me. My kinks are often echos of my past, with my consent and yet, minor issues trigger me.
So, naturally with all that I decided getting undressed in front of a veritable stranger would be the best time to force me to figure out what sexy meant to me. I don’t do things half assed. After my shoot I realized some important things. For starters, I haven’t healed. I found my sexiness in my vulnerability. I thought I’d want to look like model, the sexiest of sex bomb. Turns out that I my hesitation was beautiful. That my attempts to find internal peace were striking. My nerves were sweet as I tried to push past the old memories.
Today I struggle with my health and the effects of that. One being weight gain. It’s hard to feel sexy when you feel so upset with how you look, and honestly, I’m still struggling with it.
For me, sexy means a great deal of things. Sexy mean powerful. Owning my own power is a beautiful thing, as beautiful as giving it to someone else. Sexy means feeling proud of your body. Sexy means being yourself. Even if you dislike something about yourself, be it temporary or forever you also can still be sexy.
As a black person I’ve felt the weight of my skin and now I find it incredible. I know that dating as a black woman will always be hard so I need to love my skin even more. My skin is soft, caramel brown and I love it. I wish I could show it off MORE often. I love the space between my shoulders and the bottom of my sternum. I love my eyes and the versatility of my hair. I love how i can express myself with my hair color even being told, I could never pull it off. I think but butt will only get better in time and overall my carefree attitude is the way I am attractive.
It can be hard to feel sexy when you struggle with various things, be that mental or physical health, but you can always find it in the little things. Spending time with yourself and acknowledging what YOU like about yourself, can get you far. If you can’t think of anything asking a trusted friend (even better one you find attractive) and asking for what you need can be helpful.