It took such a long time to look in the mirror and liking what I see. Liking the woman I have become. There was a time when I was in my early teenage years, I hated mirrors. I hated how I looked, and didn’t think that I would ever be pretty.
I mean, that was a desire: I wanted to be pretty. Whatever pretty was, whatever power it granted, I wanted it. Much like any other girl that is aware of what pretty is and what they believe pretty is not. For the longest time, I thought I wasn’t pretty.
And told myself so.
With the men I dated, I asked them if they thought I was pretty. I crafted my feeling of beautiful and pretty to what they thought it should be. I didn’t have one, specifically. There were certain things that made me feel pretty, and without them? I believed I wasn’t. Through the lenses of age and time, I realize how dangerous that thinking was. It is never a good thing to put your entire worth as a person into the arms of another person! It is never advantageous to change to suit other people.
After breaking up with an abusive and toxic boyfriend at 22, I began to tell myself I was pretty. That I was worthy of love. That I was worthy of all good things which would happen to me. I finally understood by relinquishing my power to another person to determine my worth was dumb. It was the most unintelligent thing I could ever do. From that day to this, I vowed to my own self that I would love me, before I could love anyone else, for anything else. I promised myself I would become a priority–and not diminish my light to make another person shine! I promised to truly love me. And in a world that sees me in all my authentic raw brown sugar as a problematic? This is a concerted daily effort. But I do it. Love is a decision, and it isn’t always the easiest one.
Black girls don’t always get to pick the easiest things to do, but we do what we can until other things happen. It is the irritation which makes the pearl, and the pressure which makes coal diamonds. I choose to be a diamond. The world has enough rocks.