I am distinctly beautiful because…

On Friday night the Granby Girls (my two roomates, my two besties, and life partners also known as Jen and Brit) and I were fortunate enough to attend a special evening with Carlos Andres Gomez. A revolutionary spoken word poet seeking empowerment and change in the minds of those willing to be enlightened. He talks about breaking society’s definition of masculinity, he talks about respecting and cherishing women, he talks about taking nothing personal and believing everyone is beautiful. He is so charismatic and humble, you can’t help but gravitate towards him and be eager to listen. He’s not a one-man show either, he really engages his listeners to participate, discuss, share and learn from one another. To sum up how powerful this evening was, Carlos had me leaving the event in tears.

I want to share a video of one of my favorite poems of his: Distinctly Beautiful.
In his introduction to this poem, he shares that in his class he does this exercise every year where he has his students write down 24 lines that begin with “I am distinctly beautiful because…” What he found was that as the years progressed, the number of reasons each student could come up with became smaller and smaller… revealing less confidence and self love in our young people as they get older.

Have a listen. Play it a few times. And if you’re bold enough, write out 24 lines that begin with, “I am Distinctly Beautiful because…” Don’t think you’re boostin’ yourself, you’re being conceited, thinking you might write something down that others wont agree with. This is why YOU think YOU’RE distinctly beautiful. People are too meek, just declare it! You know the things you love about yourself… And if you’re even more daring, share it with me.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bVe5FwLs9Y&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

1. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I am a petite pasty pale light-skinned Filipina.
2. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I have a great smile (with straight teeth, thanks to some metal ware in previous years.)
3. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I am an opportunist. I will jump if the moment feels right.
4. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I’m good at talking to people and I’m not afraid to do it. I make friends everywhere and I love it.
5. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I love dancing to funk music and it makes me feel like a hundred bucks.
6. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I am emotional and sensitive and can cry as easily as watching Lilo leave Stitch.
7. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I have an ugly, outrageous and uncontrollable laugh. I don’t care if it’s “unlady-like”.
8. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I like to celebrate people’s birthdays and make them feel special. Why NOT celebrate someone’s born day?! Stop down playin’ it as if it wasn’t one of the greatest things that happened in life.
9. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I enjoy food way too passionately. Eating > Exercise any day, any time!!!
10. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I speak my mind and I’ve learned to do it articulately. I speak with candor.
11. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I have my mother’s pretty lips and compassion, my father’s humor and brilliance.
12. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I write in messy-cool cursive-print font (that should reallllyyy be available on Microsoft Word… just sayin.)
13. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I get excited and can sell ANYTHING. GUU. Megabus. Twitter. Loreal’s Double Extend Mascara.
14. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I write obsessively on post-it notes about the things that inspire me. I will one day make a book filled with these notes to myself.
15. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I laugh at my own videos… constantly. Especially the ones of me with a Chinese accent.
16. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I see the potential and talent in others and want to genuinely use my resources and connects to help them succeed.
17. I am Distinctly Beautiful because my hair is awesome. It can be curly (thanks, Brit) and it can be straight (thanks Asian genes.) And I kiiindda have part of my head shaved off (for air ventilation.)
18. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I value my relationships and make an effort, even if it’s a random text or fbook message to let someone know they’re being thought of.
19. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I support. If I see authentic hustle and passion, I am a fan for life.
20. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I have goals, ambitions, and dreams that I want to attain, that I have the courage in myself to go after. I dream big, act fast, go hard.
21. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I am honest. Assumptions are the most unnecessary thing in life. Why make them/leave time and room for others to make them of you? As scary as it is, I’m always working on being honest.
22. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I analyze myself if I’m accused of my faults. I fight the urge to be defensive and own up to my irresponsibility. This is one way I’m learning to be more humble.
23. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I am affectionate. I love hugs, nick-names, kisses, arm-hooks, gentle squeezes and threats to punch people in the throat…. or throw them down my two flights of stairs… or bluff about feeding them to Billy the ‘Coon… (my verbal threats of acts of violence are all statements of endearment.)
24. I am Distinctly Beautiful because I love. I lovehard.

I’ve spoken my piece.
Peace.

3 Comments »

  1. Laura said,

    03/14/2010 @ 10:08 pm

    Char, you’re distinctly beautiful because you are a truly an old-soul.
    Thank you for the beautiful post.

    Laura

  2. Maggie C said,

    03/15/2010 @ 9:52 pm

    Goodness! i stumbled on this by chance and I’m glad I did! This is amazing and i agree nothing can move me more than spoken word it’s beautiful like jazz… a little offbeat and wacky sometimes but wonderful!
    I’m a student teacher right now over in Rexdale and i did something similar with my class called an “I AM” poem… its kinda flopped because some of my students have formed this oppositional identity to anything school related… but every now and again i see a little glimpse of something.. of what they would like if they weren’t herded like sheep in a cookie cutter education system.. anyways its cool when they can kick it to me like i was their friend and be real.

    eee great post! i’ll be reading more!

  3. Sim Sima! said,

    03/17/2010 @ 3:14 pm

    Great post! I write wrote down my 24. I would love to share all 24 but I have some serious carpool tunnel so here some.

    I am Distinctly Beautiful because I love to make people laugh, i am a comedian
    I am Distinctly Beautiful because I can to talk to anyone
    I am Distinctly Beautiful because of the struggles in my life to get to this point
    I am Distinctly Beautiful because i value all my relationships, and family is the most important
    I am Distinctly Beautiful because I am creative, I can pick up a rock and see the beauty in it..I love to create
    I am Distinctly Beautiful because I embrace my culture and let everyone know who I am and what I am about
    I am Distinctly Beautiful because I will always be honest with you, it may come off as harsh but I really mean well
    I am Distinctly Beautiful because I love to motivate my peers… even strangers I want everyone in my life who I have come into contact with to be successful

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