Alexis is one of the most confident people I know. Sometimes I wonder how she does it. She is smart and has a heart of gold. Her diction is perfect. She has lovely skin, bright eyes, lovely hair, a bust line to die for and one of the prettiest smiles I’ve ever seen. By my own standards, Alexis is beautiful.
Ironically, Alexis does not see herself this way. When she looks in the mirror, she sees pimples, flabby arms, a chubby belly, an oversized chest and an underachiever. It never seizes to amaze me how she can’t perceive herself the way I and a whole lot of other people perceive her. It really is a sad thing to have the world at your feet yet live your life completely oblivious of that fact and then spend the rest of your life searching for that which you already have.
I am not very different from Alexis. Like a lot of people I know, I have my moments of self-doubt and I let the media play an important role in the way I perceive myself. Peer pressure and pressure from the expectations of others do not make things better. I am expected to have a curvy body, big bum, tight abs, big breasts and lustrous spotless skin. At the end of the day, there is only so much Clinique and MAC products can do for me and no matter how hard I try or how many products I use, I will never be a Beyoncé.
I walk through the door and people expect me to be dressed in clothes I feel awkward in, shoes that hurt my feet and make up that clog my pores. When I don’t, I’m served with a full course of smirks, chuckles and indigestible remarks.
Look at her shoes. Why is she wearing flats with that outfit? Why doesn’t she wear high-heeled shoes? She’d look better in them. Why does she walk with a bounce in her stride? She should wear more fitted clothes. I can’t believe she went shopping and all she brought back were hoodies and sneakers. Don’t they sell dresses and skinny jeans in the shop? She should wear a bit more make up, you know, to conceal her freckles.
When did it become so “uncool” to be me and to accept myself for who I am? Why do I have to be drawn into the whirlpool of self-loathing and disappointments whenever I do not conform to the societal definition of beauty? Why do I have to put my self-value and the value of my possessions over the real essence of my individuality? Being the skinniest girl in the room with the most expensive clothes and sky-high heeled shoes does not make you beautiful neither do wearing 30inch long Peruvian weaves and having excessively bleached skin. Being beautiful is in loving and accepting yourself, loving the life you live and being a good and humane person. It is something you radiate from within and it goes way beyond physical adornments and fancy ornaments.
I and pretty much everyone I know have something we wish we could alter about ourselves. But if we are not careful, we could go overboard and turn these dislikes into self-loathing. It is not always easy to accept yourself when you constantly see or feel aspects of your personality or physical features that you abhor. But from experience, I’d say that rejecting yourself only makes things worse.
Consequently, I have come to accept the fact that I am me and I don’t have to be anyone else but me. I can only pretend to be someone else for so long anyway, so why bother. There is absolutely no one else out there who is exactly like me. I mean there are people out there who have some semblance to me but there is no one who adds up exactly like me and that in itself, is the most amazing realization. So why alter my individuality? I am authentic. I own all of me and I can engineer me therefore making all of me work together in my best interest. Yes, there are certain aspects of me I don’t like, others I do not understand and some I am not quite acquainted with. But as long as I love and accept me, I can courageously find solutions to these puzzles and ways to improve and discover more about me. I have the tools to survive, to improve myself, to build meaningful relationships, to be productive and to make sense of the world around me. I am beautiful and nobody can convince me otherwise.
I am most likely never going to be a skinny, hair done, nails done, body hugging clothes and stiletto wearing, light-skinned girl but I am me and I am okay with it.
Accept yourself. You are more beautiful than you think.