Is this what it feels like to feel absolutely beautiful? I look at my reflection in the mirror, studying every nook and cranny of my face, blushing slightly while everyone and everything in the room completely disappears. I see the mixture of love, sacrifices and ancestry it took to make me, Me. In that moment, I didn't want to be anybody in the world but me. I felt nothing but self-love and gratitude. Photo: Courtesy of author In my lifetime, I am going to break barriers. To change the stereotypes people think of when they see me — stereotypes of what a "perfect," "beautiful" or "powerful" woman looks like. I want other people with disabilities to see me and know that it is okay, to feel that it is okay, to believe that it is okay. To have a disability and just live. Society is hard on women. We are encouraged to be glamorous but down to earth, to always prioritize male feelings over our own. We are taught that if we dance, we must dance to appease men, and if we wear flattering clothes, it’s because we want attention. I dress how I do because I want my style to reflect my emotions and my personality. It's not for other people. I own my body. It is mine. Photo: Courtesy of author This is for my roots. For Brooklyn. For the Bay Area. For my family. For Afro-Latinas everywhere. The fire that burns inside of me burns inside all of us and can never be put out. We have survived and will continue to survive. We will build and continue to love and appreciate each other. We are glorious.
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