I hated being black.
Got your attention, right? But I did feel that way for a while. For a long time, I would look in a mirror and pick at the things I didn’t like about myself. I had a big nose, a massive forehead, a big chest, sideburns, and stretch marks, but most of all, I didn’t like my skin color. I grew up having predominantly white friends, and if I’m being honest, I was jealous of every single one of them, because in my eyes, being white equaled being wanted and gorgeous. And so this insecurity grew and grew silently. I wanted long straight hair and stunning blue eyes and, most of all, skin that wasn’t black.
The bullies didn’t help, nor the rare occasion of racism I faced, and it came to the point I just hated being in my body for most of my teen years. In fact, it was only this year that I came to the conclusion that I was beautiful. It sounds narcissistic, but when it comes down to it, there is nothing wrong with calling yourself beautiful. It’s only through saying this to myself every morning, no matter what I looked like, that I felt comfortable in my own skin, no matter who was staring back at me in the mirror.
I’m not here to preach to you about how social media is not helping—you know that already. But if you’re reading this, I’m telling you, no matter who you are, you are beautiful. I’m not instantly expecting your insecurities to suddenly go away, because it took years for mine to, and in a way, they are still there. But I’m telling you this because you shouldn’t look to others for validation on how good you look or how stunning you are. I know it’s nice to hear a compliment, but when you don’t get one, don’t automatically think you’re not good enough. In fact, make it a habit to compliment yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that. Take time to fall in love with your flaws, your love handles or your freckles, your stomach or hair. Take time to fall in love with yourself, because when you do, you find it’s easy for others to love you too.
I’m a little rough around the edges, but I happen to love that roughness. I have a big nose, a big forehead, a round face, and bags under my eyes, not to mention that one of my eyes squints slightly when I smile. I have a chicken pox scar on my nose and a scar on my eyelid. These are all my flaws, and I’ve come to love them. I love the fact that I am black because there is a unique beauty that no one else has. YOU are beautiful, handsome, sexy, and cute, and now it’s time for you to believe it. It’s time for you to look in the mirror and for once not pick out the things you hate but love every bit of yourself, just as you would love someone else. Be wonderfully you, scarred or not, white or black, long hair or short, big eyes or small.
Just be wonderfully you.