One of the many iconic lines from Mean Girls, hopefully, I succeed in tipping you off that I am going to be talking about beauty. YES, my beautiful darlings, because we all have insecurities. We grew up hearing, it’s not what’s on the outside that matters but what’s on the inside which is true, but there is always that one person that we know that is just absolutely so aesthetically pleasing that you can’t help yourself from drooling. I was about to say or maybe it’s just me but I know for fact it’s not. Now, do you think that you are this person to someone else? Cringe, am I right? I can’t speak for the guys out there but I can speak from my experience so here we go!
As long as I can remember, I was always complained to my little sister, with this topic. I kid you not, this is how it would play out: Random human; oh my goodness, you guys are so pretty… but she is a little prettier. What followed after that was them trying to validate what it was that makes my sister prettier than me but also reassuring me that I am still pretty. So I spent a lot more time in the mirror, trying to find what feature it was that made her prettier. Was it her jaw, her smile, or eyebrows? While there were times these remarks would come from random people, this was not always the case. Sometimes they would come from family, people that I (mistakenly) called friends, my eighth-grade crush, etc. I mean imagine some giving you a complaint and them stripping it from you as soon as possible (enter the ugly step-sister analogy).
On top of that, I hated my skin color so much that I wanted to grow up, become stupid rich so that I could bleach my skin. I thought if I was lighter then I could be beautiful like all the other girls. This insecurity only grew when my peers would call me burnt when they teased me on movie days in class where the light would go off and they’d yell,“Where did Samalie go?” And when summer was around the corner my “friends” would have conversations complaining about how dark they were about to be and how ugly they would feel about themselves. In my head all was thinking was, “Do they think I am ugly?” and that question was answered shortly after when they explained that they did want a little color but God forbid that they would get as dark as me.
Now imagine someone taking the time to make a nickname for you because they don’t like the way you look. Mine was SomUgly. Half of my 6th-grade year, I got called that every. single. day. I remember going home and thanking God for the day I found out that the boy that came up with this horrid nickname was suspended from school for a few weeks because of a fight. When I tell you that I was relieved… I was truly alleviated! He was the one who aggressively called me SomUgly day after day and he was como es dice… popular, so our peers followed him like lost sleep. The day that he came back, I remember my heart beating so fast, I thought I was going to faint. I saw him coming towards me and I just knew I was going to have to endure the reign of the name SomUgly yet again. To my surprise instead of making fun of me, he actually apologized for making up the nickname and continued to ask people to stop calling me it. I was in utter disbelief at first, but soon enough people stopped.
Then came high school, where the girls came in and I was just noticed for my body. I mean yeah its high school and there are hormones flying around like crazy but my take on beauty shifted completely. As my friends were getting complimented on her facial features, I was getting complimented on my boobs, waist, and thighs. Y’all, once this guy asked me out and when I asked him why, he replied, “It’s cause you got them titties girl!” at the top of his lungs. At that moment I was so in shock and to put it simply…just SHOOK! I did walk away, but this instance is something that has always stuck with me in terms of how I thought about my beauty. There were so many other moments like this one that happened all throughout high school. A part of me hated when I was talked about that way, but then there was the other side was just relieved that people weren’t calling me SomUgly anymore. So on some days, I embraced it, but at the end of the day, I couldn’t shake the fact that I hated my body. I just wanted to look in the mirror and be satisfied with what I saw but even more than that I wanted to accept myself.
When I looked at myself in the mirror, it was either, “Oh my goodness, my nose so big but at least I’m skinny.” or “Whoa my thighs are huge but my eyes are kinda cute”. It was never a “Girl you so look so good today head to toe!” I was 20 years old when I finally believed I was beautiful, and I was standing next to two models. Weird right?
It was Iskra and her best friend Natalie. You guys, they are so beautiful inside and out! When I asked for a picture, it had been a habit that after I got my picture, I would just tear myself apart feature by feature. But for the first time in forever, I couldn’t find anything wrong with myself. I stared at the pictures we took for a hot minute and all I thought was “Whoa, I’m really beautiful.” and it felt so good!
Saying those words to myself and actually believing them wasn’t easy. It was months of therapy, time spent in the word and focusing on how God values me instead of seeking approval from my peers, practicing self-care and self-love. Although went to therapy for different reasons, this topic came up during those sessions so that I was able to internally deal with the wounds I had collected from not just society but myself too. I am not just gonna sit here and type that it was society alone that screwed up my perspective on beauty because truly, it wasn’t. I wasn’t the kindest to myself either and that is where self-care and self-love came in. When I found myself comparing myself to the girls on social media, I would do a social media cleanse. I went natural and actually wore my hair in a fro for a whole summer, I decided to wear clothes that made me comfortable, and ate whatever I wanted to eat. I practiced self-affirmations by writing my favorite scripture from the Bible (Song of Solomon 4:7) on my mirror so that I had to look at it while leaving my room every day. I even began journaling about the things I liked about myself that didn’t have to do with my looks like my sense of humor, my style, my intelligence, etc. With time I gained confidence in myself, who I am, and who I am becoming.
So going back to that saying we always grew up hearing: it doesn’t matter what’s on the outside only what’s on the inside. It’s so true! There are people in this world that are extremely beautiful to look at, but on the inside, they are actually hideous. Or there are those people who share my case, where I was extraordinarily beautiful but I fed myself lies that led me to have such a negative mindset followed by low self-esteem.
To anyone that is having an “I feel ugly today” moment, from the bottom of my heart., you are beautiful, don’t let social media tell you-you’re not. And to my guys out there, you are handsome and beard or no beard, you gotta love yourself too. Always remember that “your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”
Until the next time my darlings,