Understanding and Awareness


“I’m not as pretty as you.” I remember those words as clearly as the day I said them. I was 14 years old when I said it. My stepsister and I were outside of McDonald’s having a conversation, and though I can’t remember exactly what it was we were talking about, I’ve never forgotten my response.

I was 14 years old and puberty wasn’t my friend at all. Aside from the acne all over my skin, I didn’t notice any changes in my appearance. I was idolizing those around me with beautiful skin and long weave because they looked like the ladies in magazines and on television. I’d look in the mirror and because I didn’t see what I saw around me I hated myself. I didn’t see beauty in me because I didn’t look the same as the women society called beautiful. It took me almost 24 years to accept every flaw on my body and embrace it.

After years I embraced the fact that my hair was wild yet perfect with every kinky curl, and that my smile was beautiful, with enough power to light up a room. For years I carried a fictitious idea of what I was supposed to look like in order to be considered beautiful and it took a major toll on me. Spending hours on social media and comparing myself to others had become a thing of the past. One day I woke up and told myself I was beautiful and I haven’t doubted myself since.