By: Chaunte McClure
When I read comments about Lupita Nyong’o on my Facebook feed following the Oscars last week, I was a bit relieved and quite impressed. Relieved? Impressed? Yes, because no one focused on her small frame and criticized her for being too small. Instead, folks were excited because she garnered an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Patsey in the movie “12 Years a Slave.” Fans and spectators raved about her beauty, her gown and the flawlessness of her acceptance speech. A line from her speech that I’ve seen and heard quoted repeatedly – “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid” – has and will inspire the doubtful, faithless, and hopeless. It’s a statement that encourages everyone, everywhere. Yes, Lupita, you are right, “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.” And no matter what you look like, you are valid.
I’m sure Lupita would agree with that too, having struggled with embracing her beautiful dark skin. Sometimes we can be very critical towards one another, even ourselves. We criticize how light or dark someone’s skin is, the way they dress, how they wear their hair, or how thick or thin they are.
Too often I’ve had people say to me, ‘You are so skinny.’ ‘Gosh you’re so little.’ ‘You need to eat.’ Well, every day I look in the mirror and I’m well aware of the Master’s piece I see. I see that He created me a petite woman and I’m glad you can see that as well. My looks may not be flattering to you, but “when God saw everything that he had made …. it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31). There are people on the other end of the scale who get laughed at and put down because they struggle with their weight. They’re called fat and other names that I’m not even comfortable repeating for fear of opening the wound of someone who’s reading this.
No one likes to be looked down on or called names. When we do, we take the risk of arresting the development of someone because the negativity can lead to low self-esteem. When a person has low self-esteem, it affects what they do, what they don’t, how they think and how they act. Among other things, they lack confidence, are timid and feel invalid. It is our responsibility to encourage one another.
Ladies, remember that regardless if you’re fat, skinny or somewhere in between – you’re valid. Weight watchers, lose the negativity. The next time you see someone whom you think does not meet your weight, color, or other cosmetic standard, I pray that you will be reminded of the One who put him or her together. Learn to genuinely compliment others. Let me remind you of this cliché: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Encouraging you to be compassionate and sensitive towards others, I’m Chaunte McClure.