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This Is What A Millionaire Looks Like

by Cassendre Xavier


Some time ago, I was watching one of those reality shows on television. This particular one featured a contest wherein the winner would receive funding for their next big TV show or other TV-related project.

On the panel sat three or four experts in the field, each of whom wielded significant power in the business, and in this contest, to choose the winning project and its creator. One of them was a plump, dark-haired woman in a smart, tan-colored suit. I mention her size because one doesn’t often see high-level TV executives on camera who are anything other than what the media promotes as “attractive”, which is, well, what you’re used to seeing on TV – tall, thin, and if female, “preferably” blond. This point was not lost on the woman, who was the daughter of the Costello half of that famous comedic duo. She addressed it, albeit, indirectly, to one of the first contestants, saying, “My father was the business component of that act, and he was very, very good at what he did. A lot of people just thought of him as the ‘funny, fat guy’, but, no, he was a powerhouse, so don’t let looks fool you.” I’m paraphrasing here, but that’s basically what she said, and hearing and watching her say it was a very potent moment for me.

I had been spending so much time adjusting to the idea of this big girl who looked nothing like what TV had worked so hard to convince me was the “norm” for its programming, then I was getting used to the idea that she was a big-time businesswoman (goes to show you the absolute importance of visibility in the media of diversity of all kinds), and now I was going back in time to childhood, when I’d watched Abbott & Costello. Now, I was imagining Costello in business meetings and making important financial and creative decisions. (Incidentally, it also reminded me of having seen Cher saying that Sonny Bono, while he was the brunt of the punchlines in their Sonny & Cher show, was also the brilliant mind behind not only the show, but their entire successful career as singers. Apparently, he was a powerhouse, also.)

Looks can be deceiving. And, they can also be very limiting.

I once saw an interesting ad in a magazine. It was of Sean Lennon, son of John and Yoko, wearing a nifty black t-shirt with the words “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” in bold white block letters. That was the first time I had seen a man, and a man of color, no less, proudly using the “F” word to describe himself. It helped me reformulate for myself the image of the feminist once again (Pulitzer Prize-winning African-American author Alice Walker had addressed the whiteness of feminism by coining her own term – “womanist” years prior).

That “What a Feminist Looks Like” ad campaign has grown strong, with many more images of unique, beautiful, strong people promoting equal rights for women. My favorite is the one of actress/activist Camryn Manheim holding comic/actress Margaret Cho in a piggy back stance. Both are wearing the shirts, and both are fierce women - activists and artists of stage, television, film, and literature. Both, also, have had to, from time to time, fight media pressure and expectation of the thin, white, “attractive” female body as the only acceptable norm. Manheim, while Caucasian, is heavy-set (when she won an Academy award, she held it up saying, “This is for all the fat girls!”), and Cho is a Korean-American who also has battled the bulge and even suffered a life-threatening eating disorder as a result of work-related pressure to be thin (she shares this journey in some of her stand-up routine, touting continued and increasing self-love as the only salvation, solution, and prevention).

These folks all defy what is “acceptable” in the eyes of the dominant culture-created media, which in turn, significantly affects the aesthetic preferences and expectations of the rest of us. Thankfully, with the advancement of technology, and with the increasing evolution of the collective humyn mind and spirit, we are beginning to change all of that. There are more and more independent media “TV” (which will soon be a thing of the past) and “radio” shows, and internet social/media tools like blogs, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, allow millions to create new images of what is possible, and attract millions of viewers to their/our cause. There is hope. But in the meantime, old ideas exist and need to be reframed.

This is what I came up against when I realized recently that I had reached a block in my visualizations for my financial abundance. Because I hadn’t seen images of heavyset black women who were millionaires or otherwise financially wealthy or very comfortable (apparently, one – Oprah Winfrey, isn’t enough!), I didn’t know how to accept myself as one.

Then I remembered Costello’s daughter. She, and her life and experience existed long before that TV appearance. I exist now, and I am, indeed, making significant progress on a regular basis in womanifesting the love, joy, and financial abundance my heart desires.

I am doing so with the help of books like Creative Visualization, by Shakti Gawain, Creating Money, by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer, and You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise L. Hay, among others. I am learning the importance of not only using commonly known visualizations, but also “feelingizations” as coined by Arielle Ford in her wonderful and powerful book The Soulmate Secret.

And, I am releasing all ideas of what I am “supposed to look like” in the process. Other than being the best I can be in every way, which includes doing whatever it takes to embody self-love (which includes proper health and grooming habits), my size, color, and weight have nothing to do with my ability to womanifest the best that life has to offer.

This is what a millionaire looks like – a first-generation American-born woman of Haitian and Chinese descent, who, like Costello’s daughter, is a little on the plump side right now. This millionaire has kinky, short dreds and way too many earrings than are allowed by most employers. This millionaire loves to recycle and cover certain objects (wallets, etc.) with duct tape, even when she can “afford” not to – because it’s fun and I am highly sentimental and love not only to keep the objects I love, but I also love the earth and the idea of not adding to its already overflowing landfills.

I’m reminded of having met raw vegan leader David Wolfe, and telling him, “Thank you for being an example of financial abundance I can relate to.” He almost always wears a poncho and looks no different than a common hippie. But he’s also a celebrity entrepreneur who is comfortable with having Hollywood stars for friends. He had recently finished a tour during which he and his friends traveled in a diesel vehicle, filling it with used cooking oil they picked up from Chinese restaurants on the way. What is trash is gold again. That’s hot! This is what a millionaire’s life can, and does look like.

You, too, can have or begin creating what you want, right now, in the body you currently have.

Whatever you want to do, dream it, then start taking the necessary steps to doing it. And when you’re in front of the mirror next time, know that it’s showing you the exact way someone can look who is achieving all of that, and more.

Cassendre Xavier coined the term “renaissance negresse” in 2002 to describe her work as a black female multi-media artist. She is a prolific musical and guided meditation recording artist, a multi-genre author, and she also is an award-winning community cultural arts organizer, having founded and currently directing both the Black Women’s Arts Festival (Est. 2003, and produced annually at the Rotunda/University of Pennsylvania) and the Women’s Writing & Spoken Word Series (Est. 2002, produced monthly, and streaming live at the Moonstone Arts Center). Visit http://cassEndrExavier.com.


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