Praise: The Act of Offering Glory To One’s Self

By: Maurisa Li-A-Ping, Coordinator for First Year and Sophomore Programs at the Brown Center for Students of Color

Providence, Rhode Island

While quarantining and social distancing it feels like there are mirrors all around me. The ones you find in the circus, making tall things short, big things small, and oval things square. Everything feels filtered and contorted, even my body. So much is lost and gained in the illusion of shame. Some days I am a soaring acrobat, while others I am a clown walking the tightrope. In the blaring silence of quarantine, I turn to Lucille Clifton for resilience and comfort.

Last night while reading “homage to my hips” I wondered, did she wake up with the utmost reverence for her body? Was it gained over time? Did someone name those parts of her worthy? I am not sure of how but, I too want a body that is magical and mighty. It feels right to start with gratitude so each day I honor the joy and horror of living in my body. 

What has she done for me today?

What has her terror taught me?

Where does love live within her?

I am not sure if you too feel you are being chased by mirrors. If your round has become triangular and your small has been turned big. However, I am sure of praise: the act of offering glory to one’s self as a form of survival. Do it with me: (as said by Lucille Clifton in her poem homage to my hips)

….these hips

are free hips.

they don’t like to be held back.

these hips have never been enslaved,   

they go where they want to go

they do what they want to do.

these hips are mighty hips.

these hips are magic hips….

Image credit: Maurisa Li-A-Ping