When I was in high school my confidence level was at an all-time low. As we all do at that age and even after, I had low self esteem because I constantly compared myself to the people around me. I was what you would call the “token black girl” of my group of friends. Once I realized this I fell into a pattern of trying to assimilate. I was constantly straightening my hair and doing whatever I could to feel like I belonged. My friends always had this long straight hair that I longed for. I felt like I didn’t fit in because everything about me was so different than everyone I surrounded myself with. I constantly referred to myself as the Khloe Kardashian of the group because at the time she was the one Kardashian everyone was the hardest on. She had very little similarities to her sisters. She was a lot taller, had an “average” body, and spoke her mind. I was like her in so many ways while my friends resembled her sisters. In high school being different isn’t seen as a positive. So, I did everything I could to fit in. What I failed to realize was that no matter what you do there will always be someone who has something negative to say about you. I was on three sports teams, so I was constantly active. People used to tell me the way I walked was “masculine” or that I was “too buff”. I constantly straightened my hair because if I didn’t it was extremely short and curly. On the days I did wear my natural hair it was referred to as “nappy” or “ghetto”. Being a black person if you act a certain way or speak properly you’re categorized as “whitewashed.” Back then I saw this as a compliment because in my head I thought I was fitting in. I was trying to blend in with everyone around me instead of being myself.
Once I left that environment I really started figuring out who I was. When I turned 21 I decided it was time to let my fro fly free. I retired my straightener and dove head first into natural hair blogs. (I will do a post on that transition soon.) My natural hair journey taught me so much about myself. I couldn’t rely on fitting in because my hair made me stand out. It didn’t occur to me that there weren’t a lot of people embracing their natural hair. It helped me build my confidence. I embraced the fact that I stood out and didn’t look like everyone else. Within that journey, I learned that I’m a huge natural beauty activist and started embracing my culture. While I was out people would come up and ask me questions about my hair. It gave me the opportunity to converse with a diverse group as well as make friends with girls who were like me and give advice to people who wanted to follow my path. By making the decision to embrace something about myself that I was previously ashamed of it pushed me to accept anything I saw as a flaw.
So why am I sharing this with you? I was recently inspired to write this post because of something a friend said. I was out this past weekend hanging with some friends I’ve known since high school. They were asking me what I’ve been up to and why I haven’t been hanging with them as often. I explained that it was because I was trying to focus on my blog and bettering myself. One of the guys proceeded to say, “let’s be real Kendra, you’re not pretty enough to make it as a model.”
It took a comment like that to make me realize how far I’ve come. Now that most of our time is spent on social media we’re kind of used to people saying negative things about us via the web. But having someone say something to your face so bluntly can teach you a lot about yourself. At that moment I realized that I wasn’t hurt. What he said didn’t knock me down. It only made me realize that I wasn’t that same girl who needed acceptance. We all have the power to lift ourselves up and stay there. Don’t give that power to someone else. Once you realize that other’s opinions don’t truly matter so many doors will open for you. So, I challenge you, look in the mirror or deep down within and figure out what you believe your biggest flaw is. It could be your earlobes, your laugh, your elbows, etc. EMBRACE IT! Remember, there will always be someone skinnier than you. There will always be someone smarter. There will always be someone more popular. There will never be another you. Once you embrace what you believe to be your worst feature or characteristic is anything anyone says to you won’t matter. Love yourself for the person you are. Life is too short to worry about what other people want you to be.
You are a beautiful human being inside and out.
Sending positive vibes your way.