According to the Constitution I'm only 60% human. (That "Negroes are only 3/5 of a man" statement was never removed.)
According to some men, I'm supposed to be subservient. According to some cultural dictates, I'm not supposed to be attractive to the opposite sex.
According to the demographics, I'm not supposed to have a job or a life.
According to the people who are supposed to be providing me with support in my doctoral program, I'm not worth their time or effort.
But according to Joanna Jefferson, my maternal grandmother who loved me from the first time she laid eyes on me when I was pulled from my mother's womb with forceps, I am capable, intelligent, beautiful, and destined to do great things.
Although, her dreams for me were limited because her vision was limited by history and geography - black folks could only achieve so much in Central Texas - but she accomplished things her freed slave grandparents couldn't even imagine. I choose not to listen to all of the previous voices and can only hear Grandma's.
Although she was with me in spirit for many years, she's tending to her eldest child, my mother, in her declining years. And that's as it should be.
Like my grandmother, my mother's always been an inspiration. Never occurred to me that I was anything but big and beautiful once I became a BBW because the most beautiful woman in the world, my mother is a BBW.
Thanks, Mom and Grandma, for drowning out the voices that seek to limit and intimidate me. I only hear those who lift me up.