On the Couch with Cynthia

 
 Cynthia writes:
 
Just thought to share this- I initially wrote this just for me, but I'm sure many of you, regardless of age or background can relate. 
 
I have to admit, as I close in on 30, I find that for the first time in my life, I am truly happy with who I am, where I am and even though it may seem shallow, happy with how I look.

I spent much too many years in my teens and early 20's obsessing over my complexion, my weight, my nose, my hair and everything in between. It didn't matter how many times my mom told me I was beautiful, it really never registered.  Most of my family can attest that I always ran, I mean made a mad dash once I saw any cameras and for that sad reason I probably have all of 10 pictures between the ages of 12 and 20.  That's what happens when you spend years being so utterly self-critical, you always HAVE to be in control and I wish it didn't take all this time for me to accept that this is who I am.

I cannot explain the importance of surrounding yourself with good people and positive energy. Good friends, good family and my wonderful hubby have all been super necessary. When I think of the times when I felt the lowest about myself, I realize it was the times when I surrounded myself with the worst energy, people, activities and things.

Something amazing happens when you really start to love and embrace yourself. The moment I stopped trying to experiment with lightening creams because an aunt told me I needed to, or hiding from sun for fear of getting darker, or getting a perm every other week, for fear of the tiniest appearance of kinky hair, that became the moment, I started to love my reflection. And I tell you, if you love what you see, other people start to see that as well.  I kid you not, I only started wearing shorts and skirts about 2-3 years ago. I can laugh at it now- how sad. Four years of college and I didn't wear short skirts because of what someone may have said about their shape, size or the mosquito bites or the I'm too clumsy so I bang and scratch my legs everywhere scars.

Just a few years back, posting pictures on Facebook or elsewhere was for me an exercise in seeking approval, that I got my hair done just right, not a hair out of place, that I had the right shoes, that my nose wasn't too pudgy etc etc.
 
But now, it's celebrating- this is who I am,  this is what I'm about, this is what I like, if you get it good, if you don't - oh Well.  And I don't think its hypocritical to say I still put makeup to conceal my acne scars, the difference now is if it rubs off at the end of the day- oh well, I'll tell anyone this is what I use, how I use- there's no SHAME (to be completely honest, I'll just say there's a lot less shame or concern).
  
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm still a woman with good and bad days and I know there'll be moments where I sit there feeling bad that I'm not some stranger or some person out there's ill conceived idea of perfection; but now I'm in a place where I can quickly realize that it's all really silly though.  I realize I can honestly work to improve myself, eat healthy, take care of my skin without feeling the need to CHANGE myself. It is one thing to work on improving who you are and another thing altogether to strive only to completely change what makes you YOU.

Not to get too philosophical, but we are guaranteed only one thing, and that's a limited time on this planet- whether you go early like some unfortunate ones or you live past 100. Our time here will end. Which is why in my limited time, I will wear shorts (scars be damned), I will get darker in the sun (still gotta get that SPF tho'), I will let the world see every nap, curl or kink in my hair, cause that's who I am, and I don't have the time, energy or emotional strength to pretend that I am someone else.
Those who love you will love you. Those who get you will get you.  And these words are about my journey and my acceptance.  I don't believe in telling people how to spend their life, I'm just saying how I choose to live mine.  For example, I still spend 3 hrs a week twisting my big hair into submission, so if others want to spend their 3 hrs, straightening  coloring etc, hey -that's fine too. And I do still almost run out a little too late in the mornings because I'm putting in the requisite time applying vitamin E and cocoa butter on my scars, so if others choose to spend theirs applying hydroquinone to their skin, well that's their choice. I'm just really happy that it's not mine anymore. It's just really good to NOT NEED to do that or be that anymore. And while many people fear the big 3-0, if each additional year brings me closer to self- acceptance and this feeling inside, then I'm excited and loving it.
 
Keep up with Cynthia on her blog, addicted2etsy.com

31 Weigh in!:
Crystal S. said...

I loved this post and found myself relating in several ways. I think I almost where Cynthia is...I fall more in love with myself every single day. I still have a ways to go, but I am proud of how far I've come!

Sherida Kuffour said...

Beautiful post, I love Cynthia and adore her blog.


C+C

A. said...

absolutely beautiful post! I am only 18, and I am dealing with a lot of the same insecurities. However, I am learning to look at myself more positively and have begun to surround myself with amazing people!

Jade said...

I needed that!

Lantoinette said...

I love this post. It's as if she was writing about me. It took me 45 years to feel the way you feel at 30. I wish I could have found and accepted myself sooner. The important thing is I have finally found me and I love me. I can actually look in the mirror and say "girl you look good" and mean it. No matter the kinks, no matter the once frowned upon wide nose, no matter the dark skin....I am who God made me and I am beautiful!!!!

Latoya said...

Wonderful post. Self love really is the key. It is empowering and the basis to a truly happy and successful life. When you see the good and beauty in your self good people, places, things and expereinces are gdrawn to you!

Jacky said...

Great post but be sure to remember to try to be as good as you can as you go on the self discovery and acceptance journey.Love God+love yourself+love your fellow human beings=a wonderful life on earth and an exceptionally happy life in heaven after death(the earthly life may not be perfect but the heavenly life will surely be perfect so don't worry about pain,discomfort or anything else that you meet in life).I'm glad that you've started embracing your true self already and i wish you goodluck for the rest of the journey.

DaiShanell said...

another good read about self-love ! Thanks Cynthia & Nikki for the insightful post.

Davina916 said...

Addicted2etsy/SimplyCyn is one of the blogs I go to daily. Great article!

Esther Komolafe said...

Great post

abrunnin said...

her blog is nice! added it to my favorites :)

Hilary B. said...

her blog is so cool! love the post too

Kem24 said...

Ahhhh! I have that shirt!
http://misskemi.tumblr.com/

Natural_JADE_Movement said...

This was an amazing read! Thank you for sharing! :)

Radiance said...

That was the most beautiful piece about self acceptance and love that I've ever read. Thank you for sharing and congratulations on being happy with you!

Miss Anne said...

lovely post! and great blog Cynthia... I'll be checking it our for sure! x

SavanahRae said...

This is such a lovely post.

Megan M. said...

Omgsh I am about to cry you told my story from the hair down to the body shape issue. I have always struggled with my skin color, I have acne scars they are fading thanks to an article on curly Nikki about hyperpigmentation natural remedies really work. I am so glad to hear that others struggle with this not just me. Thanks.

Rimi said...

love cynthia, love her blog and love this post...bravo!!

MSY said...

Great post. As someone who is also rapidly approaching 30, I can relate to the increase in self-acceptance, and resultant happiness, you are experiencing. I recently read a similar article on the Huffington Post that talked about the many realizations many of us have as we approach the third decade of our lives. The one that stood out the most was realizing that you're already "real." In other words, recognizing the benefits (and sometimes downfalls) of being human, learning to accept both the good and the bad, and, instead of observing, taking charge of our lives and making them the best that we can. This has definitely rang true for me over the last few years and I can honestly say that I'm the happiest I've ever been.

link487 said...

Great post, Cynthia. Self acceptance is a beautiful thing.

Gwenn4ya said...

Great article about loving oneself! It takes time to get to know who you are. For a long time I didn't know who I was or what I like and I'm well past the 3-0. LOL....but that moment when you do realize who you are and what you like....the moment you become happy and realize that you ARE happy....no other place I'd rather be!

Carla said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing your insights. This was very well written :)

Angela B. said...

Thanks for sharing, Cynthia. Love her blog! As I'm nearing 30, I'm also becoming comfortable in my own skin. I accept myself because life is too short to live for others.

Sweetdrk1 said...

How adorable is she!! Great post love her instantly!

ss said...

I'm sorry, what did you say? I was staring at the gorgeous 'fro...

Seriously - well stated chica!
Life is too short. I'm 50 now, yet when I look in the mirror I see my 20 year old self. You are all you have, so you may as well be happy about it. I think that's why there are so many damn glamourous 50-year old women walking around here. Maybe they got a whiff of mortality and realized they're on the last lap and they wanna make the best of it. Maybe they were late bloomers, because it is as they say "youth is wasted on the young".
Whatever your reason for living your best life, live it with gusto! You'll always be better than you were yesterday, but not as good as you'll be tomorrow.

Jessica Coletrain said...

Living my life like it's golden (shakes 'fro and walks away)

addicted2etsy etsy said...

Hi everyone, this is Cynthia. A big thanks to CurlyNikki for posting this. So happy it resonates with so many of you...we sometimes think we're the only ones going thru these things... We never are.
To all the ladies (be it older and younger than I), I'm happy we're all making progress in our personal journeys and self esteem struggles. Again thanks for all the nice comments, means alot to me.

Crys S said...

Love the picture, love the blog, love this!! WORK!!...
SO much of what you wrote struck a cord with me. A week ago I posted a picture of myself from a decade ago with a caption about so much of our suffering being self imposed. In the picture I was 100 pounds heavier and with all the comments and likes, I think people failed to get the point. I spent my entire life up until the last year or so uber critical of my reflection. Like you, no pictures, and especially no shorts. (This summer was my first summer wearing shorts since childhood. 1.It was too hot for pants.2. It was just time to get on with it.) But anyway, the point of posting the picture wasn't about, "look how different I am/look.". It was about acknowledging who I was without judgement for the first time ever and realizing that so much of my discontent with life & my reflection was about my perspective. I don't think other folks are there yet, but I'm so happy to be, so much so that my current profile picture features me with my hair in its most shrunken form!! Cheers to growth, cheers to almost thirty, cheers to you!!

Derika said...

Great post. It seems like I learned to accept myself more when I met my hubby. He would always tell me how beautiful I was without makeup and I never believed him. Now that I know him, he really does love my natural beauty. He loves that I don't wear makeup anymore and that I'm transitioning to natural hair.

Rhinenena Wilson said...

This is an amazing story, Why should someone have to live up to someone else perception of what he/she should look like? That's not what life is about; Love who you are, love your individuality.

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