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