After reading an article this week, it had me thinking, reflecting, and analyzing my own path- from where I was to where I am now. This thing called self-love is a beast. I am extremely blessed and fortunate to have affronted and personally put to rest all the stereotypes that predetermined where I was supposed to be…
As the oldest child of a single mother of two, by the age of sixteen I was supposed to be with child and on my second before nineteen. I was not supposed to graduate from high school. Let some of my family members tell it, my mother’s children were not going to amount to anything- without a father. YES, unfortunately I was going against the grain before I even knew I started.
About this thing Called Self-Love
For as long as I can remember, I was apologizing for my being. I completed 1st and 2nd grade in one year- kind of cool right? Only now do I think it was cool. At the age of six I was in third grade. Kids did not understand hell, I did not understand. I wanted to be cool, yearned to be a part of their world, and vied for their acceptance. My ignorance had me doing the most incredulous things to fit in, from writing a check (at the age of seven for the book fair- remember those?) to begging my mother to bring candy to school to be cool. I was the baby, the freak, the outcast in class- for being the smart one in class.
I was a military brat traveling from country to country, constantly uprooted due to my mother’s orders for a new tour of duty. While it offered me a great worldly perspective and opportunity to travel the world, I was always the new girl, the awkward and EXTREMELY sheltered one.
In Japan, middle school happened. My size B-Cup boobs magically appeared at the tender age of 11/12. Shopping from Sears catalogs, I desperately wanted to rock the hippest of fashions: the Cross Colors and Looney Tunes, yet I could not afford that so I shopped the knock-offs. Only to be teased, mocked, and picked on for trying to be cool. I even got into a fight with a girl who pulled my hair, in my failed attempt to rock a ponytail weave. SIGH. It was also this time where my weight became an issue. Boys were mean, girls were judgmental. I remember this boy chasing me around the park because to him, I was fat. At the age of 11/12 I was almost 155 and almost 5’6’’ I was “healthy” or “big boned” as my Nanna would tell me.
High School. Freshmeat AND I was a cheerleader? (I thank my mom for putting me in girl scouts and pop warner cheerleading- a saving grace of sorts- of sorts) Even then I was off. I entered high school at the age of 12 turning 13. In Hawai’i I was becoming a young lady.While I was a cheerleader, this meant nothing for my reflection I saw in the mirror. I remember the day I looked into the mirror and finally saw myself. What and how pretty I THOUGHT I WAS did not stare back at me. Backhanded compliments, the desire to be accepted, and I still felt like I was trying to impress, I was trying too hard. My frustrations at home only compounded to my self-discovery, as I got a literal glimpse of my birth father. Acting out only sent me to my grandmother’s house in California.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire as my auntie’s resentment with my mother and whatever “grown folk” issues they had made me the target for her frustration.
Garbage. Hoe. Stank. No Man Will Ever Marry You. Trash. Slut. [email protected]
Words that were berated, spewed, and yelled at me from my live in aunt at the tender age of 15 until I was 18 years old. As a junior in high school, I was anxious, mortified, and terrified to come home. I would pray to God for this moment to pass. Her words that pierced my spirit. Almost tore me down. Tears were like never-ending rivers on my pillows. I was only 15. And while family can be the biggest blessing, sometimes they can hurt you the most. For three years I was shell shocked into a new world, (leaving the military life) and thrusted into a helpless situation- yet I made it and was thankful for it.
I naively figured that if I could endure the hurts of the heart from family, then I could brave the world with anything. It don’t change anything, but I learned.
I graduated from high school at the ripe age of 16. Living with my grandmother and plugging away at school and church- Nanna was going to make sure I succeeded. Not to MY standards but to hers. She already knew I was going to get my Masters before I finished my stint at the Community College and still cheerleading! As the oldest grandchild, no pressures right? Ha! Right!
Along this journey something clicked. In college, I learned to be ME. I no longer wanted to be friends with the “cool” kids, I stopped desperately seeking acceptance from those around me. Through the support of my family, friends, and mentors, and faith, I learned to love me on my “not so pretty days” and those which I felt on top of the world. While I am still learning to love me fully- it’s not ever fully accomplished for me.
Sharing this with you finally feels comfortable. As I have earned your trust, respect, and subscriptions, you have been forever kind to me in this journey. As I round out this year with The Curvy Fashionista entering its 3rd year, I had to share with you who still struggle with self acceptance, confidence, and those who battle your own personal existence with bullies and despicable people, please know that you will endure, breakthrough, and it WILL GET BETTER.
Surround yourself with positive, strong, and encouraging friends and create a great network! Friends and family will be there for you to lean on when you are low!
Now that I written a journal, I will bid you adieu!