For those of you who feel lost, like you’re stuck in time, and like you’ll never move forward, know that I was once in your shoes. But now, after years of soul-searching, I can confirm that I’m finally ready for this jelly. And yeah, it feels pretty damn good.
In 2001, when Kelly, Michelle, and Beyoncé first told me they doubted I was “ready for this jelly,” I scoffed. I thought, “Not me, I’m totally ready.” But once I began my interactions with the jelly, I soon found out they were right. I was intellectually ready for this jelly, but emotionally, I wasn’t even close. I was shook up and scared of the jelly.
That’s when I began unearthing old letters from my mother. She was always my number-one supporter, but when it came to this jelly, I could tell she had her reservations.
“Will you ever be ready? Can you handle this?”
“In my day we it wasn’t something you thought about, the jelly was there and you were ready for it.”
“I want to live to see you be ready for this jelly so I’m sending you these camo capris in hopes that you’ll get with it.”
This not-so-subtle discouragement landed me in years of psychotherapy. Was there something wrong with me? Why was I so scared of being ready for this jelly? My therapist informed me that I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, and that this pressure was causing me to judge myself, leaving me in a negative feedback loop by which I could never learn to be ready for this jelly. So week by week, I practiced being mindful of my judgment, and slowly began to see the ways in which I was ready to whip my hips and slip guys into a trance, instead of focusing on the ways in which this jelly left me totally lost. I would seek out stories from other women online who weren’t ready for other things, like getting divorced or coming out of the closet. I took strength from their bravery. I also took more time for myself, to get back to the things that made me feel good – like my writing and my painting – just to get away from “this jelly.” I even started yoga again! And as I became more whole, this jelly gradually became less scary.
For a while, it didn’t feel like this moment would come, where I’d be able to boldly face my discomfort head-on. But by giving myself the time to learn who I was before being ready for this jelly, my fear melted away. And now? After 14 long, painful years? I can handle this. No body too bootylicious for me.
I am ready for this jelly.
Now all I have to do is figure out what the fuck that means.