Whether or not Beyonce can call herself a feminist has been the topic that has captured most of the attention to Beyonce’s latest work. While interesting, I am more compelled by the threads of self-love and resistance laced throughout the album. My personal favorite moment of self-love and resistance resides in the irresistible quip from her song Flawless. Within it, Beyonce summons all of her ratchet boldness to celebrate her perfection, reciting repeatedly, “I woke up like this.” We should take a moment to realize the radical potential of such a line for those of us who love, laugh, and live in the margins.
What makes the line “I woke up like this” beautiful is that it implies an inherent, unapologetic, and unconditional perfection about our lived reality and who we are. The line is a battle cry. This is how I came into the world, the line seems to say, and you will deal with me as I am. But the line also starts to feel like a mantra, a self-reflective reminder that the mess we perceive when we pull ourselves out of our beds is already everything we need for our sustenance and happiness. No matter what the world tells us, we can feel overjoyed in the fact that we woke up flawless. Whether we have awakened Black, Brown, queer, woman, disabled, fat, or femme, we are here, we are awake, and we are alive. And woe to the person who tries to take our “enoughness” away from us!
As the New Year approaches, many people are already suggesting resolutions and goals for the next year. But before we charge ahead, I say we take this moment to breathe and celebrate who we are, and think about how we have triumphed over this year. I propose we enter 2014 with an #IWokeUpLikeThis politics. A politics of affirmation that claims that we know that we are complete and it is our completeness that has allowed us to thrive. So much of the battle of marginalized peoples is to try to stake claim in a world that denies us emotional, physical, and spiritual space to just be. But let us remember that we still manage to wake up in this world, loving ourselves, for our ourselves, and for each other. We have survived! And continue to thrive no matter what is thrown against us. From systemic oppression to that rude person down the block, someone or something has tried to challenge your inherent flawlessness. So let us sit in our gravity, and ponder what we have managed to overcome.
I resist the Beyhive. But I know a golden line when I see one. Let’s remember that we are enough. We have awoken enough, and therefore we operate in this world as full and complete beings. And while we still fight to get the rest of the world to figure that out, we can still remember that for ourselves while we dance in the mirror.