A black body (also blackbody) is an idealized physical body that absorbs all incident electromagnetic radiation, regardless of frequency or angle of incidence.

In a conversation with a friend last week, she reminded me that “we’re spirits having human experiences.” I had read that in The Seven Spritual Laws of Success and agreed it with then, as I did when she reminded me. One of my favorite Abraham Hicks quotes, in line with that idea, is that “I am not a body, I live in a body.” In various religions and the New Age/ New Thought movement, it is constantly reinforced that we’re divine, much more than our bodies, the vehicles that carry our spirits.

Yet, it’s easy to forget that the living outer shell is significant, when our lives  are shaped by its color, its gender, its size, etc. When one starts out in the perceived non-privileged position, it’s that much harder to realize that the body houses what truly matters; in fact, that we’re all one consciousness. How easy it must be to live as a monk in a homogeneous society, with a shaved head and an orange robe? (However, it has been reported that female monks experience sexism, so let’s change that to how easy it must be to be a male monk in an orange robe.)

I inhabit a black female body. I had never known or learned that it was supposed to be a hindrance, not a help; a limited thing; an “ugly,” “masculine” thing; a disposable thing. Those are messages I’ve learned from the media, and concepts that are alien to my thinking, being lucky enough to have grown up  in a community where those ideas have always been exposed as laughable and false.

How discouraging it is to be trapped in a body that needs constant explanation. Why must there be a defense, or even a discussion of this Black female body? Where to start– it’s not any more sexual than any other body, nor is it more masculine or strong. It’s not more naturally athletic, not more or less beautiful, not less sensitive to pain; the skin is not softer, or rougher; it just is. The outside markers that have been placed on it– complexion, height, size, etc., the silly things that amount to little, have been given much too much meaning.

I love this Black body that shelters my soul, not for its shape or height or size, but for what it has allowed me to learn. It forces me to be an observer, a receiver, to simultaneously have two or three minds. It has forced me to be binary– to understand the dominant and oppressed, the strong and weak, the dark and light. Understand that loving this body does not mean that I don’t appreciate and love your “Other” body, but I don’t understand your body and you don’t fully comprehend mine or its realities. Thankfully, loving one thing doesn’t mean hating another.