Man.. where do I even begin with this epic battle between me and me? Get some pita chips and some hummus because this is going to be a long one..
When I was a little kid, I was so confident. I was loud, dramatic, and unapologetically myself. I was full of energy and life… but as I began to grow older, as I began to inch my way into tween-dom, my outlook on life and especially myself began to change. It was about until 5th grade where this internal battle began and came full throttle, head first.
I’ve always been the butt of someone’s joke from beginning to now. The difference between when I was a child and when I began to grow older is that when I was little, I didn’t let what others said about me define or change how I view myself. So where did I go wrong? Where did I go astray from my strong view of myself?
I can sit here and play some violins in the background and invite people to my pity party but the only person I can blame about my me vs. me battle at the end of the day is…well…myself.
Ever since I hit my tweens, my view on myself changed drastically. I became more self-conscious. I began to get caught up in how I looked. Believe it or not, there was a time where I cared more about what others thought about me than I did of myself. In the sixth grade, I hated wearing my glasses so much that I walked around practically blind because I had rather that than walk around looking like a dork. I only wore my glasses if I absolutely had to.
I go back to my diaries I wrote in middle school and early high school and it hurts and sickens me to my stomach. I seriously believed I was the scum of the earth. I hated everything about me especially how I looked. I had rather stare at the sun with no sunglasses than to have to confront my own reflection.
Now I will say, the bullying did play a part in how poorly I felt about myself. I already felt down on myself so you can imagine how hard it is to attempt to pick yourself up when you have people constantly telling you: “you’re ugly, fat, and sloppy.” Honestly, that’s not even the worst I’ve gotten but that’s another story. Either way, I constantly had people nitpicking at me and telling me I was worthless which played in a part in how I felt about myself.
It doesn’t even stop there.
You know how they say there’s always the less attractive friend in a group full of beautiful girl? Well… *points to self* das me. Hear me out on this before you start going “Oh no, don’t say that about yourself.” All of my friends are attractive. Every single last one of them. On top of that, they’re all tiny. Whenever a guy approaches our group, it’s almost never for me so I usually just awkwardly stand there. If people constantly hounding me about my looks wasn’t enough, I have a group of beautiful friends who turn (actually probably break) necks. From that alone I learned how to grow some serious, serious thick skin.
Yo, I remember this one time my friends and I were at the mall. As usual some guys approached my friends and I quietly and respectfully fell back. But…. the guys wanted to divert the attention to me for once.
One guy looks at me and he says, “So my boy wants to talk to you.” Before you get excited, let me give you some brief schooling about knowing when someone is about to play you. I’ve had this happen to me before. A group of guys trying to “set me up” with one of their friends because I’m some sort of joke, some sort of jab to their friend. They “playfully” set me up with a friend because they know that the friend thinks I’m unattractive. You see where I’m going with this? Good. Because I was already seeing where this guy was going with this one.
I narrowed my eyes at him and said, “Mhmm.” His friends laugh. One of my friends catches on and tries to get us to move away from them. My other friend, bless her heart, was completely oblivious to the subliminal jabs thrown at me. She says, “Well, why don’t you talk to him? He’s cute.” I ignored her and said, “Weren’t we going to Victoria’s Secret?” The guys laugh and one says, “Oh, you shop at Victoria’s Secret? You try to get sexy?”
My other friend manages to get us out of there and I didn’t want to show it but there’s nothing more than I wanted at that time was to crawl into a corner and die. I wanted to cry for hours on end. Months before that, I had another situation.
It was October 25, 2010 at 7:15 am. My junior year of high school. I was walking past the auditorium on my way to class. There was a group of guys standing in front of the auditorium. One of them walks up to me and says, “Aye, yo. One of my friends wants to holler at you for a minute.” As I said, this has happened to me numerous times before so I ignored him. I hear his friend say, “Man ain’t nobody tryna talk to her.” At this point my heart is pounding, my cheeks are on fire, and I’m just trying to get out of there as fast as I can. Then I hear one of them say, a sentence that stills shatters me and haunts me to do this day:
“That bitch was ugly as fuck.”
Everything just became a blur. I just remember my ears were now on fire. Everything was just merging into one. My eyesight was getting foggy with tears and again I wanted nothing more than to find a place to hide and cry… which I did.
People try to convince me that they said those things because I dissed the friend but I knew better. Typically guys resort to calling a girl ugly when she curves them but… I knew. I knew I was the butt of the joke as soon as the kid walked up to me with a sneer stretched across his face like an eerie crescent moon at night.
From then on, my view of myself was terrible. Just as I was trying to find my flaws to be loveable, I hated them once again… I hated myself once again. I caught myself comparing myself to my friends. I started staying away from every mirror in sight. I stayed to myself and found refuge in my art because the only place I ever felt beautiful was on a stage. It still is the only place where I truly feel unstoppable… beautiful.
I don’t know when it hit me but it hit me like a freight train. The day that I realized I gave too much power to other people who added no value to my life at all. I was allowing people to come in and out of my life only to tell me I was worthless. I was letting people tell me what was wrong with me. I gave them power… Too much power.
Who is anyone to tell me I’m ugly? To tell me that I’m scum, fat, sloppy? Who are they?
God crafted and created me with a purpose in mind. He said I was beautiful in His sight… so why was I letting mere humans tell me I was the opposite of what God says I am?
I never use to believe that whole “only insecure people pick on people because they’re not secure within themselves” ideal but… it’s true. Anyone who feels the need to constantly nit pick and point out other people’s flaws are honestly just trying to cover up their own. It’s almost as if they’re trying to prove something. Those guys at the mall, in front of the auditorium… they approached me and made me a butt of the joke because they, themselves were afraid of being the butt of the joke so they prevented that from happening by finding someone else to bring down without even realizing how much power their words held. Those words and many others made me question my worth and purpose…
Someone who is secure within themselves. Someone who is about something and confident, not only do they feel no need to bring someone else down, they don’t have the time! They’re focused on themselves. The biggest challenge you would face with someone who truly is secure within themselves and focused on their life is trying to get them to notice you even exist!!
I began to realize that I was letting people who don’t even feel good about themselves bring me down along with them… I began to take the first steps towards loving myself. I decided that my flaws were what made me me. My overcrowded teeth, my round body, my scars, my slight lazy eye (LMFAO) only make me unique.
I began to try to notice the positive things about me that have nothing to do with how I looked like how I wrote and directed my senior play. Or how I love fiercely and protect my loved ones. Or how I leave a mark on every person I meet. Or how I have a way with words that tears at people’s hearts. Or how I express myself through my art that no one else could. Or how I’m a loyal friend. Or how I put others in front of myself… Or how I’m now content with being alone sometimes. Or how now I can honestly do what ever I want because I don’t care what anyone thinks because, as Kanye says, people don’t think…
I remember one time I was talking to my youth pastor about my struggle with my self-esteem. She told me that every time I thought something negative about myself to say Jesus’ name over and over again. She said that every time you say His name, think about how He sees you. He, the maker of heaven, earth, the stars, the moons, thinks you’re beautiful and that you add so much worth to this world. So that’s what I did every time I could feel myself putting myself down I said His name. “God, I’m so ug…. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus….”
I know not everyone believes in religion. I know not everyone believes in God but I would advise that every time you start to think negatively about yourself, remind yourself of all the great things about you.
Now, I’m not going to say that if you were to ask me right now if I thought I was beautiful, I could give you a yes because I couldn’t. I haven’t reached that part in my battle yet. I’m a work in progress. I still have times where I don’t like what I see. I still have times where I feel worthless and just a waste of space but then I take a detox and remind myself of who I am.
Whenever a guy approaches my friends, that green monster puts his head back inside his house. I could be bitter and vindictive towards my friends because my insecurities but honestly… what’s the point? Where would that get me? Still dumpy but with no friends? I root my friends on: “Yasss, you’re better pull them girl.” “Oh girl, he wants yo body boo boo.” LOL because I mean, what is the point of moping around about it? None at all. I just respectfully fall back and well… say Jesus’ name 500 times and I’m good. Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make mine burn brighter. I would be wasting time and energy into being a hater. I barely have time and energy to reaching for the remote when it’s right at my feet. I don’t see the point in bringing someone else down because that gets you nowhere.
Because honestly if a guy can’t get past my exterior then he doesn’t deserve to get to know my interior, as corny as it sounds, it’s true. Looks come and go but who I am stays. If you truly love someone- truly, truly love someone, you fall in love with them as a person. If my weight and my face really hinders someone from simply getting to know me then it’s their loss-not mine.
I’m me whether people like it or not. Flaws and all. You’re you whether they like it or not. All that truly matters is whether you like you. All of us die alone. All you got is you at the end of the day. Don’t give people who aren’t even going to be there for a substantial amount of time tell you who you are. You do have worth. You are the light in the darkness and this world needs your light and don’t you dare for a second let someone else try to dim your light. Don’t you ever make my mistake of giving others power. Don’t do it.
I pray that one day I will be able to look at myself and can whole-heartedly say, “Wow, I’m beautiful.” I pray that one day, the power I gave to people will officially be diminished. One day…
And I hope that day comes soon.