I grew up in a family of fierce women.
Women who taught me to stand up for myself and always told me that I am good enough just as I am. And yet when I grew up, I was often told I wasn’t enough.
People didn’t see me; they saw my dark skin and curly hair. I was too skinny, too quiet, too shy and they questioned how could I ever be great. And it was these constant words I allowed to feed my soul.
I hated every bit of my body, and most importantly to me, I was ashamed of my skin. To me, black was ugly and unattractive, and the standards around me didn’t help.
You see, when we listen to the voices around us, we often forget our own. Our voices are drowned out in the sea of hate and insecurity; and it’s in these moments we forget who we are and lose every precious bit of ourselves.
It’s no longer others who break you down as you take on that role, breaking yourself down constantly in order to gain approval. You become so used to the hate of others, that hating yourself becomes your new normal.
You are no longer good enough. Because you are damaged, used, ugly, fat, skinny, too loud and too much. Ultimately, you no longer embody love, but you become a vessel for hate and self-loathing. You are no longer yours but theirs. You become their words. Trying to fit into a world that will always fault you, always tell you that no matter how much you change, you will never be enough.
I remember every time I would stand in front of a mirror, I would point out my faults. Finding every flaw but never seeing the beauty. And the sad reality is that we never see our beauty. We accept the words that point out every flaw, every stretch mark, pimple and bump, but never the words that point out our beauty. Because when you hear words that undermine you, they become your definition.
You will see yourself as less until you decide to change that. You have to tell yourself that you are more. And you have to define who you are.
No one has the right to define you, to tell you what you can and can’t be. The only person who has that power is you. And when you embrace that power, you become unstoppable. But even with so much power, we still allow others to put us in our place. To box us in so that we fit into their ideas of us and what they want us to be; simply because it has been ingrained in us to be subservient and to be meek and quiet. Because having someone who can speak their mind, someone who knows the power they hold is too dangerous.
So they tell you are powerless and that you always will be. But those who put you down see the power you hold, and they fear it. They know if you accept who you are, you will be able to bring the world to its feet.
It is not an easy journey, but no journey ever is.
I started simply by looking in the mirror every morning and telling myself that I was beautiful, even when I didn’t believe it. Even when I had heard words that broke me down, I made sure that every time I looked in the mirror, I would challenge the hate. Until one day, I looked in the mirror, and believed it. It was the first time I saw nothing but beauty.
There will be moments when you feel anything but, and it’s in these moments when you will need yourself the most. You must always remember the fire that lies within you. The power that can break down the walls that have been built to shut you in. Fall in love with each and every bit of yourself. We are uniquely made, with each scar and mark bringing out a unique and rare beauty that no one else will ever have. There is and will only be one you, so dare to be you.
Be the fuel your inner flame needs and allow yourself to be more than what you have been labelled. And when you are ready, erase those labels.
It is not your job to try and fit into this world that wants nothing more than to keep you down; to chain and define you. Your job is simply to find you who are, and be proud of it.