I am sure all human beings, women and men, even children have those days, those miserable days, when you just can’t remember how it feels to be confident, when you compare yourself to everyone else, and everyone seems better, you use your own scales and numbers and graphs to mesure how terrible you are compared to the people you on that day, wish you were like. You don’t remember what you like about yourself, and you can’t seem to make yourself look good. In fact you look like shit. You are, inadequate. You might feel fat, unfit, stupid, uninteresting, like you have no useful skills, like you’ve never done enough, contributed enough, reached any of your major goals in life.
I too suffer those days, on a day where I am on my way to the gym, squeezed into my gym outfit, unmotivated, low energy, and I smell a mans cologne in the elevator in our building complex, and it smells disgusting to me. It triggers a series of emotions, thoughts and relfections, how only three scents are appealing to me now, my husbands personal scent and his two Chanel colognes, Bleu and Allure. Strange how happiness can lead to sadness, as you are consumed by a feeling of an obsession with another human being, their perfections and imperfections and at this moment only the fantabulous things you can remember about this person at this moment, where you subconsciously are sinking lower and lower along with the elevators descending, get on the floor, out of the door, get to the gym, fill up your bottle, and then BAM, see yourself in the mirror and you feel so, dissappointed. Why do the other females around you seem to have everything together? Hair, face, their bodies, their toned legs and all the parts of you that you are working on, that the mirror just told you that isn’t good enough?
As a young girl, I was faced with some mean classmates that told me a whole bunch of horrendous things, and years later, I discovered untrue things. I never got to a stage of self-hatred or destructiveness, just fear, loneliness but a stubborn confidence, thinking I was just in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people, that I didn’t belong, that I was good enough somewhere. I learnt how one person can say a mean thing to you, and it will need five to ten people to seed a doubt in you, complimenting this very thing that one person said something mean about, about twenty people for you to realize that, that comment, made by that one person, isn’t true. Or was perhaps said truthfully, but isn’t objectively, totally correct, and perhaps was said by a person who in that moment needed to take out an insecurity on you. I decided for myself, in primary school, to see a psychologist, and was met by scoffs from my sister and my mother, “Why do you need to go to therapy?” “Because I am being bullied in school.” I was quickly accommodated, but was sadly disappointed, with my male, odd, colorblind and restless therapist, I simply didn’t trust him, and found that we ended up talking more about him than me. Luckily, however, I graduated that school and ended up in a new class with new people , a blank slate, where I found it best to camouflage my inadequecy by mirroring the pretties girls in the class, until I was accepted, gained friends and slowly leaked who I really was, a clown with a lot of opinions. I grew up slowly gaining confidence, my own personal style and slowly but surely finding my own identity.
When I was in Kenya, I was constantly admiring the Kenyan people, especially the women, the girls, with their luminous brown chocolate skin, their fantastic jawlines, huge brown eyes with long eyelashes, curves, strong bodies, holding themselves, striding, with such swagger, in their donation clothes from westernized countries with logos and sayings that doesn’t make any sense to them, wearing their clothes with pride, basing their love for them on the colors and their condition. I was sad to discover however, that they envied, me. To be white, to have white skin, to have long straight hair. How could they want this? They were so young, beautiful and strong. Orphans even, some of them. Well, it is how it is, just like it is in the westernized worlds, media, fame and modern society’s standards as to what is a beautiful woman. How could this bullshit have reached an orphanage and school in Kenya, Africa? I saw a video recently, with a young black man who wanted to deliver a message (rather undelicately) to encourage darker skinned girls, and to empathize with why, according to him they had such low self esteem. And later stumbled upon a make-up video with a beautiful Asian girl who drew lines over her eyes to simulate a white womans eyelid. WHAT?! How have I been this ignorant before? I’d been comparing myself to other white females my age, and only admired Asian, Hispanic and African women, and I realize that the majority, undeniably, exept most probably China and Japan where they have their own awesome style and fashion, but STILL. The majority of the women we see, EVERYWHERE, are white. True, there are some absolutely gorgeous varieties of supermodels, there are bigger sized models, there are Victorias Secret models, Different colours, hair and sizes, and rolemodels such as the incredibly fit and healthy looking Beyonce, who is also very talented. But the boy in the video I saw made a statement that made me think, ” Beyonce wouldn’t be as big as she is today if she was darker.” Is that true? Without her Long locks, her light brown skin, but with a darker skin tone and an afro or weaves, would she not still be admired world over? For her talents? And personality? How many really dark women are rich and famous? How many really dark women without long hair do you see in commercials?
When I feel shit, and sometimes resort to reading something to cheer myself up, or inspire me, an “How To” in a magazine, inspirational quotes, an audiobook on self confidence, I don’t always know what I am looking for. Wherever you look you will find the same answer, that beauty is within, that Confidence contributes to great beauty, and that everyone in their own way, is beautiful. It’s all true obviously, well, that’s what I believe. But it’s not always what I am looking for, I know all that stuff. And when I do feel shit about myself, looks wise or as a person, I tell myself those things, I meditate and have a serious talk with myself, because I do after all love myself. Maybe, and this probably sounds like another cliche, maybe we have to find the answers ourself. As in, yeah, read all that shit, think about it, excercice, eat good, treat your self, and “Take care of yourself” as the Americans like to say when they refer to being on a diet, working out often and tanning. But maybe we DO have to go through that shit, our OWN way, YES, eat that chocolate, NO don’t feel guilty, because then it’s frickin wasted isn’t it? ENJOY it, eat your feelings that night, bitch and moan and complain and really look at yourself with those critical punishing eyes, confront yourself, say all the shit that your hating about yourself, and maybe, just maybe you will hear a little voice inside saying, “no..” “I’m not that bad..” “My body is fine, it just needs some..” “But I can..” and if you CATCH yourself in those moments, listen to that voice too! Let them argue. Then get your catharsis by watching a movie that will drag you to hell and back, and that you know will truly inspire you to get back out there, and then, I like to get organized. I give myself that time, to wallow a bit, to complain, be a dick and reflect. Then get my act together, give myself some affirmation, force out a smile at myself in the mirror, and smile a bit like I’m a sibling that I’ve just argued with that I still love. It might take me more than a day to go through this, it depends. Maybe a week, or a month. I’ll fall back, and then step forward again, and before we know it, we are in a phase of just great self-loving, proactive, inspired BEAUTIFUL life living!
My first role model, like real role model was Kate Winslet. As a million other girls my age fell in love with the wonderful Leo, I fell for Kate, obsessing over her face, her body, her hair, her acting, her character. Reading interviews in magazines, googling pictures, cutting and pasting, all over my bedroom. And what a role model. The woman who stated that she wouldn’t force herself into Hollywood’s paradigm of beauty, She wouldn’t starve herself to be the same size as everyone else on the screens, and what a body she had! She had the same shape as me, the hourglass, with a broad ass, slightly chubby arms and a full face. God I loved her. She inspired me so much, and I can thank her for being the happy hour-glass shaped woman I am today. Around me, the athletic, slim and slender body was preferred, the long legs, the blonde hair, (which I had), and instead of wanting to have all of that, I wanted to have the OPPOSITE.
Then came Hermione. Hermione Granger, played by the way too gorgeous Emma Watson, written down as plain, bushy haired, intelligent, bossy and overcompensating. I wanted her brown bushy hair, so then came the hair dye, and perm. I didn’t want to be blonde, I didn’t feel blonde. I wanted to focus on other things, and if brown hair made me plainer, so be it. Maybe it would make me accept my face, not trying to fit in to this box I was obviously never going to fit into, and maybe somehow this would help? I wanted to be good at school, I wanted to be a good friend, I wanted to find my identity, and I was guided by this character so beautifully written, through teen angst, jealousy, insecurity, friendship, relationships and priorities. I was never as high achieving in school as Hermione, but she did push me to try.
My hair got darker and darker as I reached “adulthood”, and I knew exactly how I wanted to look, inspired by the curvy and bubbly Kelly Brook, darker, more Mediterranean, more Italian, more like.. Sophia Loren. Might as well embrace my curves, and be the dark me that I like to be, with big wavy black hair, cat-eye liner, and figure hugging, colorful, retro clothes. That’s me, and that’s when I feel beautiful. Never an athletic person, and up and down with more and less chubb, I still like most women, look to the blonde bombshell, who said it best; “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” Who at times herself was chubby, who was deeply insecure, yet with an air of confidence performed some of the most sexy and iconic moments of screen to this day, herself, unlike me, a brunette turned blonde. I love her. Who doesn’t?
In conclusion, Thus, Therefore; I TRY to compare myself to myself, to as limitless as possible, categorize myself, and appreciate those specific perks, embrace it all, and stay true to the stubborn little girl in me, who without encouragement, in spite of all the bullying, going against the stream, believed in herself. And to love the man, who loves me, for all that I am, in our equal, passionate marriage.