I remember being in that place—In love with the person I’d come to know and despising her all at the same time. I recall how it feels to teeter between loving myself just the way I was and longing to be like every girl I saw that wasn’t like me.
I was a lucky one…
…early in life, I had people telling me I was beautiful. Some teachers, my mother, my father…and perhaps at that point in life, it was simply a positive affirmation, repeated in an attempt to, “…speak those things that are not, as though they were…” And I thank them for that. I am grateful for them telling me how beautiful my smile and eyes were but I must admit, like most people during their ‘tweens, my head was too big for my body, my legs were lanky and my hair was, well, a HOT, NAPPY MESS to say the least…
But all the while, I’ve known myself to be beautiful and even though I endured years of torment on playgrounds and during various neighborhood antics, at times, led by my older brother, by age 12, I KNEW I was beautiful, even in my “ugly duckling” stage.
Last week I was visiting with a friend of mine who has a daughter on the edge of 15 and “OMG…” she’s “…fat…” as I watch her hold her “belly” which is nothing more than a finger-full of skin that she has pulled from her small frame in an attempt to find something, anything wrong with her long slender body.
Then again, last night, the same child spoke about being too thin and trying to gain weight, which we told her she didn’t need to do that age would handle that for her in due time…don’t rush it.
This showed me that we, women specifically, have a difficult time early in life learning to love ourselves just the way we are. That we don’t understand our developmental process and that no one is destined to look the EXACT same way through their whole life. We spend so many minutes within our days making excuses for why compliments given to us can’t be genuine or why we don’t deserve them because “…I need a relaxer/cut/color/need to lose weight…” instead of just appreciating who we are and thanking God that others might ever possibly see us the way God sees us…BEAUTIFUL.
The problem is, WE don’t see it so how can we possibly believe that someone else sees the beauty that we hold…?
“Nina…you know, you should grow your hair out really long and then straighten it…so that way you’ll look like a princess”, says the 14-year old. I smiled and replied, “But I like my hair just the way it is…and besides, why be a princess when you can be a queen…?” I went on to assure her that the look I have is what works best for me and that I stopped trying to look like everyone else years ago…and that she should stop now before she’s too far gone.
Love yourself. You are the best you there could ever be…