I love my skin and all it holds. This has not always been the case. In fact it took a while for me to get here. But as we all know, as we grow, we become ourselves, feel more comfortable in our own bodies and embrace our authentic selves – flaws included. It all started when I began to realize that self-love is the best love…there is nothing like it out there!
Growing up, I remember being mocked because of some of my misaligned teeth. There was a time I used to beg my parents to take me to get braces to straighten my teeth. But you know how African parents are, if it’s not an absolute necessity then it’s not happening. Somewhere along the way, I developed the habit of laughing while covering my mouth so people wouldn’t see my teeth. It wasn’t until halfway through my first year of college that I put an end to this habit. I realized then that I couldn’t spend the rest of my life stifling laughter and hiding my teeth out of fear of what people would say. Besides, I had no aspirations of being in a toothpaste commercial. So I embraced my teeth and stopped hiding them.
It was after my first year in college that I began wearing clothes that revealed my legs. For starters, it was my first love affair with summer and there was no way I would survive that heat in jeans. The last time I had worn such clothes was in my prepubescent days. While at home from boarding school, during the holidays, I was the girl in the neighborhood wearing pants and a baggy t-shirt. I gravitated towards outfits that would cover my legs because I don’t have what beauty definers and keepers classify as feminine legs. That summer I realized that I could cover my legs or find a student budget friendly way to rid myself of the stretchmarks or embrace the legs and live life. I chose to embrace my legs and live life.
Over the years, I have came into myself, flaws and all. Comments that people make about my flaws that would previously have bothered me don’t anymore. People will always have something to say after all, especially when you are comfortable and confident in who you are. Their opinion is most often than not a reflection of how they feel about themselves.
Society is more keen on pushing these cookie-cutter beauty standards than it is on embracing the beauty in all our differences. We all, at one point or the other, buy into these ideals and even alter our behavior or lifestyle in order to fit in. If the powers that be wanted us to fit in then we would all have been created with the same look, fit, talents and skill set. But that is not the case. We were all created different. It is these differences and the diverse beauty that they bring that ought to be embraced and celebrated.
Love yourself with everything. It might take society a while to catch up, but love yourself nonetheless. Self-love is powerful.