I stepped out of the shower, wrapped a towel around myself, hair wet, curly, frizzy and a bit bushy. As I stood there in my authentic form, I stared at myself in the mirror, not in a conceited way but just observing the woman who was staring back at me. Every scar, curl, kink, curve, dip, my full lips, wide hips, and stretch marks. At that moment I felt like I was seeing her for the very first time, the first time as a grown woman and I offered her a full blown smile. The aura of her inner beauty shined through her prism and it was unapologetic.
For the first time in a long time, I feel flawless. No matter what form I’m in, whether I’m dressed up with my eyebrows “on fleek” or if I just rolled out of bed with a fresh face. It doesn’t mean I’m perfect but that I’m confident in who I am. I’m owning the woman I am and I like the woman looking back at me. I don’t allow my insecurities to rule over my life because the foundation of my confidence is not built solely on an outward appearance.
Growing up I guess I can say my self-esteem was fickle. There were times when I was content with myself and then there was a period where I felt awkward and I really didn’t like myself at all. As I grew into my teens I struggled like many young girls with their body image. My weight has always fluctuated but don’t get it twisted, I still worked it either way. What I’ve learned over a period of time is not to care what others think about me and quite frankly that it’s none of my business what others think of me in the first place, It’s their issue not my own.
One day I was on Tumblr reading quotes and I stumbled upon one about woman and body image from Kate Winslet, who has a no-nonsense approach about shaming woman’s bodies and weight. She hit it dead on the nail stating,
“As a child, I never heard one woman say to me ‘I love my body.’ Not my mother, my elder sister, my best friend. No one woman has ever said, ‘I am so proud of my body’. So I make sure to say it to Mia because a positive physical outlook has to start at an early age.”
It’s a quote I vowed to carry with me through life because you see as woman we have a responsibility that I don’t think we’re immediately mindful of. We become mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, mentors and so much more. As we’re growing up we look to the women who came before us as our influences, therefore we then in turn learn their habits and create a vision of what a woman is to ourselves. Inspired by those woman, whether we acknowledge it or not, we then become those woman to the next generation of young girls growing up. It’s that never-ending cycle. When I read this quote, I told myself that one day when I become a mother, It’s my job as her mother to instill a positive physical outlook for her but also to teach her that her outward beauty shines from within first. I also came to the realization that I’ve already become that influential woman for the next generation for my sisters, nieces, cousins, friends and even strangers. I already have this responsibility and was not fully aware of the power of the torch I now carry.
In a society where we grew up for decades with jaded views in the media of what the standard of beauty is, especially for women of color, it goes without saying there’s a chance you’ll end up having self-esteem issues. We are almost in 2016 and the media is just now starting to embrace the diversity of women. We as woman struggle or have struggled with positive body images because no one taught us to love our physical selves. It’s no one’s fault, our predecessors are not to blame because they probably didn’t have anyone to teach them either and so fourth. It’s another one of those cycles needing to be broken. We now have the responsibility to unlearn those stigmas and to reteach our future generations of women that there is no standard of beauty and that our true beauty comes from within ourselves.
As I continue to discover myself no matter where I am, I am choosing to love all of me in the now as I grow through each process. I find that when you nurture your spirit, carry great energy and release positive vibes there’s a glow that invigorates your physical beauty. In my opinion, the best thing a girl can wear is confidence because when you have that nobody can tell you about who you are. I think that’s something to be celebrated because it doesn’t always come easy. A lot of women camouflage to compensate their lack of self-confidence. When you get it don’t ever allow someone to diminish it, don’t second guess it or allow another to take it away from you. You have the right to own it and protect it.
At just 25 years old, I’ve learned so much more about myself and I know as time goes on I will learn even more as I continue to evolve into the woman I want to be. One thing I’ve experienced half way through my 20’s so far is that it’s all about learning yourself, exploring who you are and building towards who you want to become. Facing the girl in the mirror was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. I began to have all these revelations and “ah ha” moments about myself and all at once it hit me, I’ve been being groomed to grow in this direction for a while. When I say I’m “feeling myself” it’s more than me singing a song, more than my outward appearance. It’s my confidence, it’s my attitude, it’s my positive energy, it’s my ambition, my goals, it’s the power of owning and accepting who I am. I have a new found appreciation for myself and my existence. There’s so much more of me I’m showing now, I’m proud of that and I want everyone else to feel like this, flawless.
10 Ways to confidence and loving yourself:
- Be humble but also know you the sh–, there’s a thin line between confidence and conceited
- Don’t care about what anyone says about you (it says more about them than you 😉 )
- Unapologetically be yourself
- Find one thing about yourself that you love
- Whatever you have, work it!
- Learn to compliment other dope women
- Learn to take compliments from other women (stop thinking everything is shade)
- Know another woman’s confidence is not a threat to yours nor does it diminish your own
- Stop letting your insecurities point out flaws, you are made in the image of love
- Stop speaking negatively of yourself instead, give yourself compliments daily
Following these 10 simple steps will surely lead you on the path toward building up your self-confidence, uplifting other women and have you feeling yourself too. Get rid of those old habits of looking in the mirror and putting yourself down. You’re the sh– so start acting accordingly. Start by finding one thing you love about yourself, stand in front of the mirror and compliment yourself every day until you genuinely believe it. If you don’t like something, work on changing it but that doesn’t mean hate yourself for it in the process. There’s always that one thing we dislike about ourselves that someone else wishes they had. We as women have to abandon that way of thinking and stop being so judgemental towards one another. Instead, we should be uplifting one another by embracing all the things that are different about us. We all have something to offer this world just remember your beauty goes beyond skin deep.