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In pursuit of Sexiness
I want to be sexy, not beautiful, but sexy.
When I think of sexy I think of Rihanna, Solange and my sister Udoka. To be a bit more specific I think of these images in particular:
Now what makes them sexy? Is it because they are showing skin? Have nice, barely covering, clothes on? I used to think so, but after falling gravely ill, I no longer think so. My hope for this post is that it can also encourage the same change of thought in you, and maybe even encourage you to also pursue sexiness.
First, a bit of context. Last year I was diagnosed with a very rare disease called still’s disease that nearly killed me. I was in ICU for 4 months, couldn’t move from my neck down for 4 months and was in and out of a coma for most of my duration. If you would like to know more about how this near death experience has changed me, I will be talking about it more with my wonderful co-host Alyssia who also nearly died (at the same time?!), on our podcast called “Flirting With Death”.
Anyways, back to what this post is about.
Before all of that happened I didn’t think looks were important, and for the most part I still hold that belief. I do not care about what my friends or partner looks like. I also do not care about people’s perception of my looks. What changed was that now I care more than ever how I look and feel about myself.
Pre-illness Adaobi felt like she always had the option of being sexy, but she just never exercised it. For anyone that knows me, you’ll know that my hair was always a mess, in a headscarf or both (I have kindly added a photo of pre-illness Adaobi in the wild).
I had long hair, good weave, good enough at makeup, fairly decent body shape, and decent sized breasts and ass given my figure. So if I ever wanted to be sexy I could, at least that’s what I thought. I thought that whenever I wanted to I could just do my hair, wear some clothes that complimented my body shape, show some cleavage and ass, and go. Like being sexy was a switch.
That all changed when I got sick. Suddenly being “sexy” wasn’t so straight forward anymore. My long hair turned to dust and I had to go bald. I have a permanent tube in my right breast. My ass is flat as bread (even my head was for a while, see the funny picture below). My ever so perfect weight went to shit, as I toggled between being a balloon and being a twig. I have a really bad limp. I have surgery scars everywhere. I mean the list truly goes on.
I began to ask myself “how can I be sexy without showing any cleavage” and other strange things, until it finally hit me that that's not what being sexy is about. Below are two pictures of Rihanna and Solange, fully clothed, in casual clothing, still looking as sexy as ever (I would include a picture of my sister but I don’t have any). How is that? It took a while for me to find the words to describe what I felt and I think I finally have.
I now realise that what I thought was “sexy” was actually “beautiful”. Those little “tools” in my “tool box” were things I used to help me reach whatever beauty standard was in place at the moment, with success being admired by all genders. In other words, it was conformity, a form of being palatable to the general public. Basically, I was, have never been, and never actually had the “option” of being sexy, only beautiful and even then I don’t think I ever made the bar.
After much contemplation, I think I have a better understanding of what being sexy is. To be sexy to me is to desire yourself. It’s a type of confidence that has no voice, but when it’s around you feel its presence. It’s a feeling. Being sexy isn’t a destination, or a look. It’s a mixture of a lifestyle and belief. It’s about making decisions that aren’t at the appeasement of others, about not only desiring yourself, but having that desire reflect in how you talk and act. Beautiful is following the rules, being sexy is having none.When you see it you’ll know as it can’t be faked. But for now, this is as good as a description that I can give.
Once I realised that, my perspective changed. I was no longer asking myself questions like “How can I show cleavage if I have a tube in my tit”, but rather, “how do I own this tube in my tit and make it work?”. In some cases that means hiding it, and in other cases that means having it out. It means falling in love with my short hair and making it work for me. It means desiring and taking pride in myself no matter what I look like, and genuinely making it work.
So yeah, I want to be sexy. Not beautiful, but sexy, and I’m actively pursuing it. I don’t know what I’m doing and that’s okay, because I believe the pursuit of sexiness in itself is already worth it.