Flaws and All Flaws and All

Flaws and All

Between working in retail for several years and being a freelance makeup artist, I've experienced first-hand the many ways in which we, as women, physically tear ourselves apart. I'm convinced that in the fine invisible print of each job description within the fashion and beauty industries, there is a duty that reads "Self-Image Therapist," for this is a role that comes without question each day. "No ma'am, you're not too fat for that dress." "Of course those jeans don't make your hips look too wide." "No way---you don't need implants. Your boobs look great in that top just as they are." My makeup clients are no better with their evaluations of self: "I know it's gonna take a lot to get this mug in order, Chels" or even "Give me the thickest concealer you've got, girl; these under eye circles are gonna need some work." At times I'm tempted to grab perfect strangers by the shoulders, and shake some sense back into their poor, self-hating souls while screaming: YOU. ARE. BEAUTIFUL.

It wouldn't work. And I'm not sure what more it would take, but after recently witnessing a woman break down into tears after looking at herself in a mirror, I knew there was something terribly wrong. Something deserving of further investigation.

I sat behind the counter at work that day, nearly in tears myself. A heart heavy knowing that no amount of positivity and bestowed compliments would change the fact that that woman could barely stand the sight of her own reflection. I thought it over until my head hurt---why do we object ourselves to such scrutiny? And after going back and forth in my own mind, I faced a harsh reality: I'd been no better. Me. Chelsea. The same one who'd been the mascot for self-love, confidence, and appreciation of our physical being without question just a couple hours prior. Nope, I'd been no better. Because as far back as I could remember, I, too, beat myself up internally and blamed the world for my seemingly misfortunate features.

I blamed my Mother, the picture of perfection she was during my younger years, for being everything I was not. Light. Short. A hair filled with curly long locks. I couldn't understand how she, my grandmother, and most of my cousins and aunts had the look---light skin, long hair. And I just had to be different, the oddball. "Why me?" I'd wonder silently.

I blamed my Father, not only for being a pitiful individual, but for tainting my being with these awkward physical realities. Darker skin (avoided the sun like a plague). Coarser hair (relaxers from elementary school, on). The height of a damn basketball player! Ohhhhhh, that wicked height. My mom is 5' 2" you see, so only he could be blamed for my always being the tallest one in the class photo. 5'9" by the time I reached 8th grade. Size 10 feet. I cursed his unspoken name when I had to go out of my way to find fashionable shoes for a teenage girl hard-pressed on following "the trends." And when I had to pay more for my Jordan's because I couldn't fit the same cute kiddie sizes that my friends wore, please believe I gave him hell.

I blamed adolescence for acne and braces---at the same time. And I wasn't quite sure who to blame for my needing glasses, but please believe they were deserving of my discontent, too.

I blamed my best friends for having video-vixen statures in middle school while I could barely fill out a bra. One was a D-cup even in sixth grade, and got all the guys' attention. The other was a track superstar, and, thus, stacked like a stallion. The only girl in the whole school with a booty like J-Lo, or so it seemed back then. When she walked by, time would stop for just a few seconds. Oh, yes, the fellas loved her too! My flimsy frame couldn't compare.

I blamed makeup for giving me a false sense of beauty and femininity throughout high school. No, I didn't wear foundation. But eyeshadow, liner, blush, and lipgloss, all became addictions. Fun, playful, and harmless to the untamed eye. But there soon reached a point at which I couldn't leave the house fresh-faced because I'd forgotten that I was pretty without all the extra fixings. Late to class, sitting in the car, applying that third coat of mascara. It was my "thing" and I couldn't have a day off.

I blamed college for blessing me with ten extra pounds each year. Thirty to date. Something about being free to come and go and eat and hang out and stay up as you damn well please begets bad habits. And, yes, they became my own. But when I transferred schools and moved to Atlanta, I blamed Georgia for having me feel that I wasn't thick enough. The figures of my modelesque friends back home couldn't even begin to compare to the shapes of these southern gals. Nope, no amount of squats and lunges could give you the hips and backside of someone who's been fed pork chops, macaroni and cheese, and cornbread since childhood. Or even someone who's had a couple shots (if you know what I mean) here and there; yes, those have nearly become the norm too.

I blame a whole bunch of people for a whole bunch of other things I have yet to come to terms with regarding my appearance, but more than anything - I blame myself. For I, like the woman who wept in front of the mirror, am to blame for how I have handled that over which I have no control. And even more at fault for measuring my own worth against someone else's natural standard; I'd always be an imperfect version of them, but couldn't see that I was a flawless version of myself. I was too young to understand that my complexion was the most gorgeous shade of brown that God had ever blended---because he created it just for me. And, even so, these days I love me a good summer tan---the browner, the better. I was too stubborn to know that my height was a blessing---something that made me stand out in a crowd---striking. Plus, it automatically eliminated all the short, good-for-nothing guys who's attention I thought I needed at the time. And I was too damn dumb to realize that I wore a size 10 so that I could always have access to the good shoes that all the 7.5-8s had to fight for at the department stores. Duh! How could it not be obvious? *Sighs*

I've learned from self-evaluation and retrospect that we will all face physical insecurities at one point or another. But you either love it, deal with it, fix it, or die inside from irrational feelings of inadequacy---take your pick. I choose to be proud of those subtleties that set me apart from the next woman, and I encourage you all to do the same. Love yourself as a work-in-progress, for you will only become more gorgeous from adopting a positive self-image. And let's uplift one another, too. Instead of being mad because the next chick has a badder body than your own---complement her and ask what kind of workouts she does. Like someone's hair? Tell her so, and just maybe she'll slip you her stylist's card. You never know, the very thing you commend her on may be the single thing making her feel not so up to par that day. Be a blessing to someone else . . .

Please feel free to share any flaws that you've learned to love about yourself, and how you reached that point!

- Chelsea Smith

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Kelly Rowland Says Her Highly-Anticipated Project Is "Definitely Coming"

Six years ago, Kelly Rowland released her fourth studio album titled Talk a Good Game. The project boasted hit singles like "Kisses Down Low" and the transparent "Dirty Laundry." Now, the Houston native is preparing to release a project that'll surely satisfy fans' patient earbuds.

In an interview with Billboard, Rowland shared her hopes for putting out a new body of work and the pressure that she's encountered since she's been in the studio. "This is by far the longest, most pressure-filled process ever, only because I know what it's supposed to be and I have been so hard on myself. I know it," she said. "And it's the first time I've said it out loud. I've been extremely hard on myself. But it's definitely coming, and I'm more so excited about this project than anything else."

The news follows the recent release of Rowland's "Kelly" track, which was met with critical acclaim in November 2018. In addition to preparing the release of new music, the "Motivation" singer discussed fans' wish for a Destiny's Child reunion. The rumors have been fueled by social media photographs of Rowland with either Beyonce or Michelle or all three, especially during Beyonce's past Coachella performance. But Rowland assures readers that it's not what they think.

"It's so funny. I guess every time people see us together, they just see music but I see sisterhood, and that's what we are and that's what me, her, Michelle [Williams] and Solange and I are. People see us all together, they immediately think music. I'm like, no. Just family." As Rowland previously mentioned Solange, she hopes to one day work with her again.

"I'm a huge fan," she said. "I love her writing and how detailed and particular she is. I always wanted to figure out how the heck she has so many different layers of harmonies when she is constructing these vocals, and it's so complex but simple. It's genius. It's the genius in her genius mind that she has in there." One of the last times the pair collaborated was on Rowland's "Simply Deep" track off her debut solo album of the same name. Solange also penned a few songs off the same project. Fast forward to 2016, and Rowland's vocals were featured on Solange's iconic A Seat at the Table.

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Teyana Taylor To Pay Homage To Ballroom Culture In "WTP" Video

Teyana Taylor aims to keep her hot streak of innovative videos coming thanks to this recent announcement. Taking to Instagram on Wednesday (Jan. 9), the "Gonna Love Me" singer will show adoration to ballroom culture in the visual for "WTP."

Directed by Gregory "Beef" Jones, The Aunties Inc., and Taylor herself, the Harlemite takes viewers on her journey to the expression-filled space where she hopes to rack up 10s across the board from a group of judges. The premise of the video also seems to follow a mockumentary format airing on a fictional network named FEMTV. Alongside Taylor, other men and women get ready to display their talents and confidence on the ballroom floor.

"WTP" is featured on the mother-of-one's sophomore album, K.T.S.E., which was released in June 2018. While the rollout's controversy didn't entirely muddle the excitement behind the project's debut, Taylor said she was sold on the idea that her album would be treated as the biggest out of G.O.O.D. Music's string of releases last year.

"I didn't know ahead of time that there wouldn't be any singles or visuals. But I knew that it was going to be the five-album thing," she said during a HOT 97 interview. "[Kanye] wanted [my album] to be last, he wanted mine to be the biggest. That's the way they sauced it up. I was sold."

The video will debut on Jan. 19. Check out the teaser below.

 

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👀 1.19.19 👀 #WTP Directed by @teyanataylor & @ogbeefjones @theauntiesinc 🙏🏾🙌🏾🙏🏾 The wait is ALMOST over. 😏 @museumofsex

A post shared by Jimmy Neutch- Shumpert (@teyanataylor) on Jan 8, 2019 at 6:32pm PST

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Trina Braxton’s Ex-Husband, Gabe Solis, Dies After Battle With Cancer

Gabe Solis, the ex-husband of Trina Braxton, lost his battle with cancer, Thursday (Dec. 20),  TMZ reports. He was 43.

Solis passed away at his home in Texas, surrounded by friends and family, according to the outlet. No official details have been released about his passing.

Solis had reportedly been keeping his cancer battle private. His death came as a shock to his loved ones. On Friday (Dec. 21), Braxton seemingly mourned the loss of her ex-husband with a cryptic Instagram meme reading, “I need a hug..E bottle of wine.”

The former couple tied the knot in 2003, and appeared together on previous seasons of WEtv’s Braxton Family Values. Despite finalizing their divorce in 2015, Braxton and Solis confronted lingering issues from their marriage during an episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life, earlier in the year.

Braxton has since moved on to a new relationship, but remained friends with Solis.

 

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A post shared by Trina Braxton (@trinabraxton1) on Dec 21, 2018 at 9:49am PST

READ MORE: Phaedra Parks To Join 'Braxton Family Values' Cast

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