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