Middle school was the first time I was faced with the reality of what beauty meant to others. I, Nieshia, wasn’t considered one of the “attractive” people. You know, skinny, light-skinned, long and manageable hair, a part of the popular crowd. Yeah, no.
I was, in the eyes of others,… ugly.
The first time I was called “ugly”…
I was going about my typical seventh-grade day of classes, speaking to classmates, and watching the clock. As I headed to one of my classes, I noticed a boy that I had never laid eyes on before. He had brown skin, a little lighter than mine, brown eyes, and seemed to be a part of the “tough” crowd. I don’t know what it was about him, but I automatically developed a crush on him.
I hoped and prayed that he wasn’t in any of my classes because I knew it would mean having to interact with him (I was extremely shy). Guess what? He happened to be in two of them, science and physical education (P.E.). About a week after noticing this boy, I told a girl in my class that I thought he was cute and demanded that she didn’t say anything to him about what I told her. She promised that she wouldn’t, and I believed her.
Fast forward to P.E.; I go throughout P.E. without thinking about what I had told the girl. When class was over, I noticed that she was over on the other side of the gym talking to the boy I liked. Trying not to make things awkward, I walk closer to where they were. I noticed that the girl was attempting to pull the guy closer to where I was standing. In that exact moment, he commented:
“I already have a girlfriend. Plus, she’s (me) ugly as hell.”
To say that I was embarrassed would be an understatement. I wanted to disappear from that class and school. This guy had the nerve to embarrass me publicly and not think twice about it. I was hurt. From the moment on, I began to have a negative view of myself.
Becoming comfortable with my appearance
Most of my teenage years and the beginning of my adult life was me not appreciating who I was and not acknowledging my true beauty. It didn’t help that almost every guy that I was interested in wasn’t interested in me. I was called “ugly” on SEVERAL occasions. I would often ask myself,
“Am I too dark?”
“Is the gap between my two front teeth what turns guys away?”
“Could it be my weight?”
“Are my clothes not fashionable enough?”
What was so wrong with me that almost no one could see me as “beautiful”? The little confidence that I did have completely disappeared. All throughout middle and high school was tortuous for me. While most girls were going on dates and walking around school holding hands with their boyfriends, I was focused on blending in to avoid being seen. I survived those years my hiding out in my favorite place, the library.
I grew tired of being viewed as “unattractive” and viewing myself in that way. I desperately wanted someone to see me and think of me as “pretty.” After high school, I stopped waiting and embarked on a journey to appreciate my own beauty.
The journey to loving and appreciating the way God made me was painful!
I had to become comfortable with looking at myself as an attractive woman and saying things like, “You are beautiful,” to myself. In the beginning, I couldn’t even fathom describing myself as “beautiful,” “attractive,” or “wife-material.” I would cringe at the thought of those words spewing out of my mouth. It took time and lots of it to believe that I was beautiful and worthy of love.
One of the exercises that I would do to become more aware of my appearance was staring at myself in the mirror. You would think that would be an easy task. For me, it wasn’t.
Standing in front of a mirror staring at myself was nerve-wracking. I didn’t like the person that was staring back at me. I was slightly overweight. I stopped taking care of my physical appearance (no one thought I was pretty anyway). I let myself go, and it was embarrassing.
I remember thinking to myself, “Why aren’t I pretty?” I would break down into tears on several occasions during that exercise. What was it about me that others were seeing that I wasn’t? What was so unattractive about me?
Years of speaking encouraging words to myself, watching videos on growing confidence, and reading books on healing (there will be an entire post on this subject), I began to see myself in a better light.
I grew to love my beautiful, dark brown skin, wild curly hair, bushy eyebrows, cellulite, and everything else there was to love about me. Yes, it took time, but I eventually got to a point where I could see reflection and smile.
Beautiful black girls and women out there who do not view yourselves as attractive, know this: YOUR BEAUTY IS UNLIKE ANY OTHER. LEARN TO LOVE THE REFLECTION LOOKING BACK AT YOU IN THE MIRROR. LOVE YOUR BROWN SKIN, CURVES, AND ALL OF YOUR OTHER BEAUTIFUL FEATURES. DON’T EVER BELIEVE IT WHEN SOMEONE SAYS YOU’RE NOT BEAUTIFUL.
I had to face the reality of knowing and accepting that not everyone is going to think I’m “pretty” or “attractive,” and that’s perfectly okay. As long as I knew that I was beautiful and that my beauty was unique, that was all that mattered. When I could confidently say that out loud, I knew I was on the right track to owning and loving my appearance and myself overall.
For all of you who don’t feel attractive…
You need to know that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Like I mentioned before, not everyone is going to think you’re attractive, but guess what? That is perfectly okay. You may not realize it, but there are people out there who see you as the beautiful person that you are.
I will say not to focus so much of your energy on making your outer appearance acceptable if your insides are not together. Meaning, if you have some struggles, either mentally, spiritually, or emotionally, you need to sort them out. When you are healed from past hurts and growing in the areas of your life that you need to grow in, your outer appearance will reflect that.
Exercises for you
“You’re Beautiful! Don’t Ever Forget That.”Nieshia
Exercise #1: The Mirror Exercise
I mentioned this was one of the exercises I did whenever I was on my journey of acknowledging my true beauty. It may seem silly to look at yourself in a mirror and say something positive, but it does work. Every day, preferably in the morning, I would like to say two things that you love about yourself. Doing this exercise first thing in the morning will, hopefully, aid in you having a positive view of yourself.
Yes, I still do this exercise everyday.
Exercise #2: Journal Your Way Through Your Growth
Here are a few prompts to help you through your journey:
Journaling Prompt 1: Why don’t I find myself attractive? Explain and use details!
Journaling Prompt 2: What would make me feel more attractive?
Journaling Prompt 3: My favorite feature on me is…
Journaling Prompt 4: Describe yourself to yourself. Be completely honest about how you view yourself.
Journaling Prompt 5: For me to change the negative views I have of myself, I need to…
Those are just a few journaling prompts that you can use during your journaling sessions. When you’re journaling, be honest with how your feeling in that moment of writing. Why do you feel that way that you do? Who/what caused you to feel this way about yourself? Be open! No one is going to read your journal (unless you would like for someone else to read it).
Exercise 3: Work on Your Outer Appearance
You’re outer appearance is the first thing people will see. It’s imperative that whenever you leave your home, you’re looking your best. Here are a few ways you can improve your outer appearance:
- Shower daily
- Wear clothes that are clean, comfortable, and fit your body well
- Don’t be afraid to wear a little make-up
- Exercise 3-4 times a week
- Change up your hairstyle a bit
Those are a few ways to spruce up your outer appearance. If you have any other ways of doing so, comment them in the comment section below!
Until you begin to view yourself as “beautiful” or “attractive”, you need to believe that you are that, attractive. Stop waiting around for others to notice your beauty.
Have a blessed day!
Describe your beauty in the comment section below!!
“My beauty is (blank).”