When I was growing up, I thought I was really really ugly. I’m Nigerian but I’m a little light-skinned, I grew up around peers who were a lot lighter in complexion than I was. At that time, people didn’t really consider black as beautiful and melanin wasn’t celebrated like it is today. I thought I was too dark, my nose too big, my lips too full, my hair too coarse, my body too straight and my clothes too cheap. It didn’t help that social media and other mass media constantly shoved perfect-looking models with perfect facial structures, curvy bodies and expensive dresses in the faces of growing girls.
Of course, what I didn’t know was how many of them really struggled with self esteem issues and kept going under the knife to improve one body part of the other, hoping to buoy their esteem by augmenting their bodies. Hoping that the lights of a thousand cameras would make them whole. Hoping that people would love them in ways that they could never love themselves, appreciate them in ways that they couldn’t appreciate their own selves.
I wanted to be popular, I wanted people to see me on their screens. I tried to bleach my skin. I thought that if I was a little lighter, people would be more attracted. And shucks, were they? Oh yes! They were. They flocked to me like bees flocked to hives. Guess what? Most of them were really shallow. They didn’t add to my knowledge or make me a better person, they didn’t even really know me or understand me, they didn’t care if I was a brilliant genius or a talentless hack. All they cared about, all they were with me for; was my attractiveness. In other words, if something ever happened to me that changed my looks, they would disappear from my life without a trace. I realised that it was really all vanity, that I did not have to recreate myself to fit people’s perceptions. I am enough miracle for me. I do not have to try to be a pretty butterfly because I am so much more than that.
So many people suffer from low self esteem issues because they only recognise all the flaws in their lives, all the places they’ve erred or made mistakes; in doing this, they forget to count their blessings. If you lift up your eyes and look past the black and grey areas, you’ll discover that there is so much white around you. We often don’t notice this because we are too busy reveling in the guilt and shame of our shortcomings.
Many people today are like that old version of me, struggling to be people-pleasers. Why are you trying so desperately to fit in with the crowd when you were destined to be the trailblazer? Like a wise man once said, don’t follow change, create change.
Lots of people spend their lives concentrating on all the evil that there is in the world. In doing this, they forget to acknowledge that there is also good. You cannot appreciate what you don’t recognise.
True Beauty isn’t Skin-deep.
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