I grew up in an environment that breeded low self-esteem. As I grew older, I realized that it wasn’t intentional; however, the damage was done. And needed to be undone.
I remember being 18 years old, standing at 5’3, weighing no more than 110lbs soaking wet- looking in the mirror and hating the person that looked back at me. My face had acne, my body was too skinny, my lips were too big, and my butt wasn’t big enough. I fixed the glasses issue when I started wearing contacts. This was the mindset that I had growing up, and the teasing and joking from friends and family (although completely innocent) only added on to the insecurities that were already there. Fast forward 8 years and add on heartbreak, anger, being cheated on, and a failed attempt at marriage. I was a wreck-emotionally and spiritually. And it manifested in my self-image. I kept making one bad mistake after another, after another. And it finally reached a point where I had a complete meltdown.
I had to take a break from life- family, friends, my kids- and work on me. It was unwanted, but extremely necessary. I had to find out why I was so angry, why I was so hurt, what made me so damaged. I never actually figured out all of these things, but I did find my peace. Through God. I know- it sounds sooooo cliché, but that’s what happened for me. I plunged into my bible, prayed every hour, and just told God “listen- I can’t take this anymore. So, like, you gotta fix this bruh cuz this right here ain’t working for me!” Or something like that (emoji!!!) And slowly, I forgave myself and all of the people who I felt slighted me. And guess what happened? My acne face became beautiful. My raisin stomach became acceptable. My skinny frame because goddess-like. Transforming my mind and emotions transformed how I viewed myself.
The funny thing is, people do not tell you how to love yourself. Or, how to keep up with loving yourself. It was an extensive process to love God enough to love myself enough. And it’s a fight to wake up everyday still loving myself. With other people’s opinions, society telling black women what they should look like, and our own personal opinions of what we should look like- being in love with yourself takes a lot of work. It’s a wonder that more parents don’t teach their children (especially girls) that we NEED to love ourselves unconditionally before we allow a man (or woman) to try to love us. It makes a world of a difference! My relationships with people period is so different now, let alone my relationships with men. Falling in love with myself gives off some sort of respect and QUEEN vibe cuz now…. They don’t even approach me if their lives aren’t together. Every guy that sends their affection my way wants commitment with marriage on the table. Reconditioning my mind and spirit has changed my life. I love who looks back at me in the mirror. I love my imperfect body. I love my flaws. They make me unique and amazing. I’ve always loved my skin tone; thinking back on it now, that was never an issue for me.
Piggy backing from my last post, skin tone is something that affects every black community, in every culture. I recently came across an article which said that females in Jamaica were bleaching their skin to become lighter. The rapper Lil Kim and the late pop star Micheal Jackson are just some examples of this. Low self-esteem is a killer, and it goes by unnoticed. It manifests itself is so many ugly ways, and causes us to do ugly things to ourselves. Every shade of black is beautiful. From the extremely fair skin, to the extremely dark one. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! And no, just telling yourself that isn’t enough. You need to teach your mind, your heart, and your spirit that you are beautiful. Change your environment, educate yourself on love and acceptance. You are not and will never be perfect, and that is what makes you perfect. Your imperfections define you- freckles, moles, beauty marks, slanted eyes, an oval face, a broad nose, and pointy ears. Embrace it. You can change it, but it wouldn’t change the way that you see yourself. You’ll just find something else wrong. So instead of changing everything on the outside, change everything on the inside. You’ll see a completely different person looking back at you in the mirror.
I cannot change the world, but I can definitely change myself and my household. I teach my children that they are amazing. The word “can’t” is not allowed in my house, because my little ones CAN do ANYTHING. They just have to try. Their fair complexion does not get them a pass in life (but their beauty does. Whether or not I like it, beautiful people have more opportunities. And my kids are BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Lol!). They have to work just as hard as anyone else to get what they want. BUT- mommy will teach them to love themselves, and to love each other. That simple act will lead and guide them through every relationship (both platonic and emotional), and shape them to be happy and healthy adults. It took waaaaaaaaay to long for me to learn to love myself. But now that I am here, I can’t ever go back.
I love me enough….!
Until next time, tootles! xoxoxo