Have you ever wondered why you think certain people are attractive and others aren’t? Why do you think you aren’t stunning in the same way you thought a perfect stranger stunning?
These are the kinds of questions I’ve been journaling and asking myself recently. I have battled insecurity all of my life, and sometimes my confidence is high but for the most part it is low. Why do I view myself with such low regard? Why don’t I believe my husband when he tells me that I’m beautiful?
The only conclusion I can come up with is that I have learned to admire people who look a certain way, and I myself don’t fit into that mold.
As a black woman with natural hair, I will never have long hair that hits past my shoulders and blows in the wind. I will never be able to wear light pink lipstick. And I will never be able to fit into a smaller shoe size. I will never be 5’7″ and fit into a size extra small. I don’t resent these things. But I think I subconsciously am envious of women who have these attributes. Why?
This isn’t just a matter of race, ethnicity, or nationality. Many black actresses wear long weaves and try to fit into the mold that the film industry puts them in. But essentially, I think this hurts other black women like me who don’t have many celebrities who look like them. It makes me feel like I’m not beautiful because I don’t look a certain way.
The media isn’t entirely to blame. From a young age, my mom would use relaxers and my hair and my sister’s hair. It’s just what black mothers did and still do.
If you don’t know, relaxers — sometimes called perms — are hair kits filled with chemicals to “relax” hair and make it straight. If you buy a kit, it kind of looks like buying a hair dye kit. But instead of dye, you’re putting chemicals on your head that can burn you if you leave them on too long. I hated relaxing my hair, but I thought it was simply a part of life. It wasn’t until I was in college that I learned about natural hair, and even then, the idea was super scary for me. Essentially, I didn’t know what my hair would look like if I didn’t relax it every few months.
Fast forward to 2014 — the year I decided to cut off my hair and let it grow. By the end of 2013, I had stopped relaxing my hair and was transitioning to becoming fully natural, meaning my hair was curly at the roots but mostly straight. I was tired of the process and decided to cut off the straight hair as best I could. I actually really loved my short hair. It was so easy to maintain.
Now, I have a head full of curly natural hair, yet I still don’t feel pretty enough.
As of late, I’ve been trying to make exercising every day a habit. I’ve done this countless times, and usually, I do a good job until something gets in the way and I start making excuses, which turns into my not exercising for months on end. I’ve tried to figure out why I do this. Why do I give up? The only answer I can come up with is that the way I view fitness is tangled up with insecurity. I feel like I will never get to my goal weight, when in reality, if I just keep exercising, I’ll get there. All I’m trying to do is lose about 18 pounds. Totally doable. Yet I struggle to achieve it year after year.
Of course, I want to believe that this time I’ll actually get there. I feel more determined. I’m trying to stay encouraged and not overexert myself so that I don’t burn out. But I know even if I reach my goal weight, I will still have insecurities. It’s a constant battle I have to fight.
Do you have insecurities? How do you cope with them? Let’s encourage each other.