dear hilary: on bringing sexy back

Dear Hilary,

Right before Christmas I look at myself in the mirror and scold myself furiously for all the chocolate I’ve eaten. For the hours I didn’t work out. For the way my stomach puffs out, and I lack good posture, and my eyes are an in-between color like my hair is and I never do anything to it and basically I’m just doomed to look like this. I want to change that. I hear people say it’s possible, to love yourself, to think your own body is sexy. To think that your butt looks good in those jeans. To believe that, despite even the worst of worst hair days, out of me radiates a sexy, desirable glow.

But no one tells you how to actually believe it. So I want to know.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Dear Brave Sexy Girl on Fire,

I write this to you sitting on my unmade bed that is covered in approximately 5 shoes, a coat, a cell phone, a wool blanket, Christmas cards spilling out of their case, leftover work papers, ribbon and cough drops. I am wearing 4 inch high heels and orange running shorts and my sweaty white T-shirt, having just jumped around my room in said high heels to Usher’s, “Scream” and P!nk’s “Blow Me One Last Kiss” and the Glee mashup of “Rumor Has It” and “Somebody Like You”. I jumped around my room. I shimmied. I swung my hips in what vaguely resembles a circle. I cha-chaed. I salsaed. I shook whatever could be shook. I put my hair down. I put my hands in the air. If there was sexy in the world, I brought it back.

I changed your name when I wrote back to you, Brave Sexy Girl on Fire, because we don’t get to see our heart’s desire in the mirror when we call to it. We don’t get to see the “fairest of them all”. The problem with asking a mirror is that it will only show you what you already think. It will show you a snapshot of those nagging thoughts. It isn’t a new voice; it’s just an echo.

But. What if you whispered, “I am a brave sexy girl on fire”?

Just, what if you did that?

What do you think would happen?

I dare you to put on high heels and Usher. I dare you to jump around. I dare you to shout to your bedroom walls that you are a brave sexy girl on fire. I dare you to do it wearing a sweaty t-shirt, orange running shorts and four inch heels.

It’s cheesy, love, but it’s true. We have to speak the truth out loud more often than we realize. We have to speak it out ahead of ourselves, so that when we wake up each morning and go to bed each night, it is already waiting for us. The truth about sexy isn’t like logic. You can’t commit it to memory. You can’t plug yourself into one end of the equation and POOF! Out comes a belief on the other end.

This is a truth that is three-dimensional, living, a heartbeat inside your heartbeat. This is a truth that you build, with every dance party. With every act of kindness, every smile to a stranger on the street, every dollar you pull out of your wallet to tip the girl at the coffee shop, every outfit that you rock in the morning (especially the ones with cowboy boots, neon pink, ruffles… you catch my drift). You build this belief in your own sexiness. In cupcakes and shimmying hips and three hours reading a good book and dreams about grad school and falling in love. You build it.

So this letter ends with a dare. A dare to you, Brave Sexy Girl on Fire. I dare you to jump around dancing and saying, I am a brave sexy girl on fire over and over. I dare you to begin to build.

Because you don’t have to do a single thing different to glow like the French sky on Bastille Day. You don’t need to do anything to your hair or your stomach or your eyes or your hair to have the glow. It is already so gut-wrenchingly radiating out from you I can see it, right now. I can see it in your letter. That’s why I name you Brave Sexy Girl on Fire. Because I can see you, glowing, all the way from here.

I dare you to revel in it.



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