“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise L. Hay
When I was in high school, I refused to wear anything but jeans and track suits most of the time because I hated my legs. You see, I had so many scars on my legs that the only times I show them off was while wearing a shin guard and socks during soccer. I was such tomboy growing and was always playing with my cousins, who were all boys. I scrapped my knee and legs too many times to count. Over time, I got so many scars on my legs and though many had faded, I often compared myself to the other girls in school with unblemished gams.
I went to North Carolina with my family to visit my aunt and uncle in the summer of my junior year. It was on that trip that I was ambushed by my mom and aunts to convince me to act more like a lady and wear dresses and skirts to show off my figure. I remember sitting on the floor crying because no one truly understood the peer pressure. “You used to wear dresses and skirts all the time, why are you now refusing to wear them?” my mom asked. I didn’t want to tell her the truth because I knew what she would say, “you are beautiful, so show off what God gave you.”
It took the women in my family uplifting me and showing me that I was worth more than my scars. Over the years, I have learned that my scars are a part of me and tell prolific stories that cross oceans. For instance, I have a scar from our pet monkey scratching me after I teased it mercilessly with a banana. Or the time I fell while climbing a coconut tree to pick a ripe coconut to eat after school. I have so may stories and can tell you what I did to acquire each scar.
It’s taken me years to learn to love the skin I’m in. I still haven’t truly mastered that art but I have embraced my flaws and learned to love them. Often times we compare ourselves to others we see on social media. We become our worst critics for no reason. We forget that platforms like Instagram only show a snapshot of someone’s life, the part they want you to see. It’s all about perception. So as you head into the weekend, I hope you take the time to embrace yourself, love the body, life and talent God gave you and thrive.