Dear Sixteen Year Old Self,
“You’re fine just the way you are! Signed, the adult you.”
For as long as I can remember I had always dealt with some form of insecurity. I’m not sure where it started nor why, but I never felt the same as everyone else. I felt different, but, in some not-conforming to the norm kind of way, I didn’t exactly want to belong either. I wanted to feel beautiful, be called beautiful, be liked, but be myself.
Being myself didn’t garner any envy, and if it did I was completely unaware. I was too busy comparing my body, my face, and all that was me to everyone else.
I wasn’t the pretty girl in class. I didn’t have the long thick flowing perfectly relaxed dark brown hair. Even with a perm my roots were thick. And I wasn’t proportionately curved. I always had a donkey booty, thick thighs, short legs and flat feet.
Although I knew I was insecure, I also knew I didn’t want to be. It wasn’t until high school that I decided I would rather be my corny, studious (yes, I liked to learn), and sometimes awkward self and disliked than be phony, with lots of friends and a facade to perpetuate and protect. I’m me. Of course, it took years, in fact, it wasn’t until college and my early adult life that I really, and I mean REALLY, conquered the art of being me. The art of accepting me, loving me and knowing that regardless of who or what I was taught or believe I had to be, “I’M PERFECTLY FINE BEING ME!!!!” That felt great. I want to shout that again, “I’M PERFECTLY FINE BEING ME!!!!” Don’t get me wrong, even in my adult life I sometimes feel many of those same insecurities lurking around but I now know the difference between having insecure moments and BEING insecure.
Furthermore, I AM a black West Indian woman, I AM a sistah. I’m perfect fine being in my dark caramel complexion and hue. I am not, nor, will I try to be anything other than that. I am not too proud or boastful but content with what I am and who I am. I am opinionated and sometimes loud but I am NOT an angry black woman! I have thoughts and ambitions and I like to be heard and feel respected. That is all!
With that said, here’s the point I’m getting at. There are many women like me, girls who were like me, and who also want to be free. First, I must say, you’ve got to let go of any inhibition, self doubt and self loathing. You are exactly who you were meant to be. And although that feels and sounds like the politically correct thing to say because it’s so cliche, it’s absolutely true! It’s not until you do so that you begin to realize and value what you’re worth because you know what you’re worth. You’ll be clear on what you will and won’t accept. What’s okay and what’s not. And what you’ve got to stand firm on. Your shoulders are upright, your chest out, head held high and when “they” say you are not and you can’t be (whatever it is you want to be), you are and you can!
The time you spend doubting and trying to fit in is time wasted on just being you. I wish I could give every girl, every woman, in the world the gift of loving themselves completely. So much so, there’s never any doubt about who you are and what you look like, because no matter what’s said and done you’re happy. You’re completely happy with you.
I only wish I had found the 16 year old me back then. She was so full of light, so full of laughter, so motivated, such determination, and perfectly fine the way she was meant to be.
I love you.
Signed, the adult me.