My Constant Battle with Insecurity

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.