Tag Archives: 30 something

Fen-tastic

Right, so cheesy pun there. Rihanna has never been on my radar much; her music wasn’t particularly to my tastes, though I had nothing against it, and I thought she was beautiful and clearly talented but was not a fan girl.

Something that I have noticed recently, however, and perhaps I would have noticed this earlier if I had actually been a fan, is how independent she is. She’s a savvy businesswoman – her makeup line Fenty has changed the game by simply acknowledging that women of every shade should have makeup that suits their skin. Other brands have widened their ranges over the years, but Fenty set out to cater for every shade from albino to the darkest black from the outset. No tiptoeing around the edges, they just dived right in and what I find striking is that every woman has at least a couple of shades that might suit her. Everyone.

But what really impressed me recently was her body positivity, revealed in an interview for Cut Magazine in which she was asked about her approach to clothing:

“Well, I actually have had the pleasure of a fluctuating body type, where one day I can literally fit into something that is bodycon, and then the next day — the next week — I need something oversized; I need a little crop here and a high-waist there to hide that part, you know?

I really pay attention every day when I go into the closet about what’s working for my body that morning. I feel like that’s how everyone should go after fashion, because it’s an individual thing. And then, if you take it further, it’s like: What week are you having? You having a skinny week? You having a fat week? Are we doing arms this week? We doing legs this week? We doing oversized?

I love to play with silhouettes as well, but I think it’s important to make sure that you wear the thing that works for your body the best, and that’s flattering.” – Rihanna

There’s something beautiful and so very rare about a woman who is at peace with her body and makes the clothes fit her frame, rather than the other way around. I love that Rihanna is a positive role model and yes, she has stylists and custom made clothes, but while her wardrobe is out of reach, her attitude is something we can all adopt.

I remember falling in love with my thighs a few years ago. Not because they’re lovely  – far from it. But because they’re mine. They’re huge and strong and curvy and have cellulite but they are mine.

Since I was a teen I have hated my legs, especially my knees. But as I got older and my body changed, I found that my thighs bothered me the most. I steered well clear of tight jeans and skirts and sought to cover up my lower half whenever possible.

And then one day, at the grand old age of 30, I just stopped*. I looked in the mirror and liked what I saw, because it was very me. Men may hate or love them, and thick thighs are currently in vogue thanks to Nicki Minaj, but I try to make how I feel about my body my plumb line for self-confidence. It doesn’t always work, but like Rihanna, I find what makes me feel cute (nice underwear especially) and rock it. I’ve found the looks that flatter my shape and feel good – they aren’t always in fashion, but I’m true to my style.

 

*being in my thirties is amazing. I think I’ll have to write about it sometime.

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Insecure

screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-8-10-52-am-www-imagesplitter-netI have long been a fan of Issa Rae and her particular brand of wry humour. I loved Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and I’ve just finished watching her new show, Insecure.

I can’t recommend it enough. It’s funny but painfully real. The secondary characters are well-developed and I love how complex the lead character is. It’s the sort of complexity that’s usually reserved for male characters, who are never under pressure to be likeable. Issa is flawed, human, hilarious. Real.

But for me personally, her best friend Molly really resonates. Her series of dating dramas just speak to me powerfully and I know I’m not alone. There are so many great characters in the show and her portrayal of that interconnected web of relationships, colleagues and friends is just pitch perfect.

At the moment, watching this, Atlanta and Crazyhead, I feel like I’ve been spoiled for good TV with Black leads. Susan Wokoma (Crazyhead) played my favourite character in Chewing Gum and in Crazyhead she tears up every scene she is in, giving it attitude, pathos, reserve and humour as appropriate and with ease, switching gears with a quiet self-assurance. I hope to see more of her and that we don’t lose her to the States when Crazyhead lands there this month*

 

*I wish her well of course. But if we want to keep talent like hers on this side of the pond, the roles need to be there. I hope the industry takes note!

 

 

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Tick Tock

At school it’s all so straightforward: you and your peers are moving together en masse towards adulthood with your life events punctuated primarily by exams. In your 20s, while some get married and others start work, a large number of you go to University – either way, you’re embarking upon THE REST OF YOUR LIFE*

(Along the way, you find out that it can be more of a stumble through the undergrowth but if you’re lucky you emerge scarred but not fatally so, and perhaps a bit more wise about the people and things that might cause you harm)

And then come the spates of weddings. Next, the rash of babies. It’s a very predictable course, but for some reason I’m a bit staggered: I have no less than five friends expecting this year and there at least four more that I’d wager are going to send me a text or email over the course of the year with the happy news that they are pregnant, to which my first thought is always, if I’m honest: “Wow, you’ve been busy!” followed swiftly by “Eww..didn’t want to go there” and “Oh my goodness a little you!”

At first, I guess I took the “miracle of life” for granted, but with some of my closest friends falling pregnant this year, watching them grow, both in size and knowledge, has been nothing short of amazing. I feel at once awed and humbled by the female body. Hearing all the detail about baby growth and development I find my thoughts immediately shifting to women in less fortunate circumstances, who bring their babies to term and into this world in poverty or instability, sometimes by themselves. I think of the statistics and how despite medical advances, pregnancy and childbirth is still a dangerous act that’s miraculous and grounded, visceral and wonderful, ancient and timeless all at the same time.

And yet, I still don’t feel it, that supposed tick-tock of the biological clock. I marvel at, and yet have no desire to enter the sisterhood of the motherhood, that secret, incredibly intimate but powerfully symbolic space. When I was 29, I fretted that perhaps I had taken a wrong turn somewhere in the undergrowth and emerged scratched and staggering into the wrong clearing while everyone else was getting married, buying houses and having babies in the next clearing over.

I hope I will one day; but right now I have filled my house with words, music and flowers. I love and am loved. I tend my garden. I explore my clearing.

*and for some reason, it is always presented as this neat and tidy finite thing, when in fact it’s a bit of a plan, a bit of a muddle and a lot of pretending you’re all grown up when you actually still find a video of cat pushing another one down the stairs utterly hilarious.

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