Feeling Unpretty…

Hello World,

I am hesitating about writing this blog post because it is so deeply personal, but part of the reason that I love blogs is because it is a way to connect with others through shared revelations…So from time to time, I must reveal…So I’m jumping in the deep water today…Come save me if I go out too far…LOL…

Me at about 10 years old when the teasing started…

Since I was about 10 years old or so, I struggled with insecurities about my looks. My parents always made me feel loved and adored inside the cocoon of our nurturing home, but outside of those walls, I discovered it was a cold world. I don’t remember what boy or girl called me ugly first, but whoever said it first is of no consequence. Those words did what they were intended to do: make me question the beauty that I saw in the mirror.

A year or so later when I started to wear glasses, put on a few pounds and entered middle school, I retreated in the world of books where my favorite authors of the day like Judy Blume, Alice Walker and Brenda Wilkinson affirmed that while I may have been an ugly duckling then, one day the world would see the swan that I was on the inside. I remember trying to explain to my parents that people made fun of my looks at school to no avail. My mother and father believe I’m beautiful, and they just couldn’t fathom that others didn’t see what they saw. Plus, their Jamaican sensibilities didn’t permit a lot of whining and crying so I had to make sense of what was happening on my own.

I remember when I saw the ABC story “Teens Post ‘Am I Pretty or Ugly?’ Videos on YouTube” earlier this year. If YouTube had been in existence then, I would have probably uploaded one of these disturbing videos I was so hungry for outside positive affirmation. While I didn’t have YouTube, I did have Molly Ringwald, and  I identified with her characters in nearly all of her movies although I was a little black girl. I hoped desperately that high school would be different.

In some ways, high school was different. At the white middle school that I attended in Sandy Springs, I was thought to be on the chubby side, but at a black high school in College Park, I was Coke bottle fine. Still, there were a few people that managed to poke holes in my newfound but fragile confidence…As Vivian said in “Pretty Woman,” “The bad things are easier to believe. Haven’t you noticed that?!” And on some days, I could blame no one else than myself…I picked apart my looks feature by feature…

Me in the “Miss Jamaica Atlanta” pageant…

In college, after gaining and losing the Freshman 20 instead of Freshman 15 in my case and investing in contact lenses, I gathered enough confidence to enter the “Miss Jamaica Atlanta” competition. I didn’t win one of the top three spots, but I considered it a victory that I even put myself out there…I even wore a bathing suit…on stage…in front of people…Yikes…

Me fighting adult acne, but fearfully and wonderfully made…

I would like to say that now that I’m in my ’30s (one year from 40 to be exact…Wow,) I am no longer self-conscious and in complete mastery of my self-esteem, but on my worst days when my hair isn’t quite right or another gray hair shows up or I’m fighting adult acne(Wasn’t teen acne enough God?), I’m still that 10-year-old girl…Nevertheless, on my best days, I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made; I’m learning to know that full well (Psalm 139:14)…

Any thoughts?

P.S. One of my fave TLC songs for obvious reasons-

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 thoughts on “Feeling Unpretty…

  1. Jackie,
    I appreciate your comments very much. When my daughter was young I worried that she might experience these same feelings. I tried to encourage her and hold her tight, not just physically, but in my prayers and my encouragement. I’m reminded of a song called “At Seventeen” by Janis Ian that speaks to this. It was around when my daughter was entering the years when being pretty was importnant.
    Thanks for the message. I think I’ll send my daughter and son (in-law) a note. Bless you. Bruce

  2. Jackie, thank you for sharing! Funny how we see ourselves vs. how other pp see is. You are and always have been beuatiful to me!!!

    I think we all experience this – even my most beautiful family and friends have insecurities. I have learned to love me … all of me!!! No one else will so I have to. This world is a cruel place so I cant leave room for the world to define me. I have learned that I will never be tall, thin, smart, quit enough by other’s terms. So I just say to hello with it and be me!!! Sending you lots of love!!!!!

  3. It’s interesting that you wrote this today, because I read a devotional this morning on the same subject. You have to read it. http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/girlfriends/girlfriends-in-god-oct-17-2012.html

    It took me a long time to accept myself as a woman, but one Sunday morning, when I was attending World Changers, I was feeling particularly down on myself and the Lord showed me something really powerful (to me anyway). He told me to look around the sanctuary at the 8,000 people there and said, “Look at all of these people. How many of them would you consider extremely beautiful?” When I did that, I could count on one hand the physically beautiful ones, you know, the ones we’ve been told set the standard — the Beyonces, the Denzels, the Shemars, etc. Most of them were average looking folks. Naturally, I didn’t hear any of the rest of Pastor Dollar’s message, because I was busy studying the congretation! LOL! But I got my word from the Lord that morning, and I understood that He sees all of us as beautiful in His sight even when we don’t. We all have to work with what He gave us…

    • Great devotional Chick! And thank you for your testimony…I’ve learned that everyone has insecurities even the Beyonces, the Denzels, the Shemars…of course, I would like to meet Denzel to find out for myself…lol…:)

  4. Jackie, Thank you for your share. We so often feel alone as we grow up! I was overweight and blamed all my difficulties on that fact. One year my mother actually entered me in a beauty contest as a favor to one of her friends (!) who was having trouble getting contestants. I had never even worn hose or heels, so I got hose and flat shoes, a new dress and jewelry. I came in third (3 contestants! duh).

    Sure enough Mother thought I was beautiful! She worried about how many boys I would attract. Actually by high school I looked pretty good, but always larger than my peers and very self-conscious of my appearance. To this day I obsess over my attire in part because of this sekf-image — think: I man be fat, but I will be dressed appropriately and attractively.