Primary school was a lot of fun. I didn’t have to worry about bills, getting a job, or any of the adult life stress that I now deal with. However, primary school is how my body insecurities started.
You see, in primary school, I used to get teased in regards to my appearance. I suppose that now I am an adult, I realise how silly it was, but as a child, that experience was damaging. A few of the boys would laugh at the prospect of them fancying me, and I was never asked out to the school disco.
One day, one boy, let’s call him Dillon, directly asked me “how comes some girls are fat, dark-skinned with big boobs and ugly? I’m not describing you, but I’m just asking”.
I was 1 of those girls that hit puberty quite early. In primary school, my breasts had developed and I had also started my period. Boys being highly silly those days (maybe they even are now?) would make continuous fun of my big boobs and so I felt really self-conscious.
Fast-forward to secondary school, I opted to attend an all-girls school. Most of the time, it was almost a battle of who was the prettiest or who had the best body. I was a bit of a tomboy for the majority of my secondary school years, and so during own clothes day, tracksuit bottoms and a cap was my signature look.
One day after school, my close friend at the time came to my house. As I was changing from my school uniform to comfortable clothing she said, “wow, you don’t have any hips or bum. Your figure is like a white girl!”
At the time, I was getting changed in front of my bedroom mirror. When she uttered those words I looked at my body for a while in deep thought on if what she was saying were true. I turned around and asked her “Well, what’s that supposed to mean? And what exactly makes my figure like a white girl?”She paused for a few seconds before hesitantly responding, “Oh, it’s not a bad thing. I’m just saying!”
So, because I was a black girl, and I did not have the stereotypical wide hips and big bum that is associated with blackness, my body was being compared to a woman of another race? It can really be your own people that have the most damaging things to say about you, honestly.
Due to comments like that, for years I became very self-conscious about my body. Although it was something that I never discussed with anyone, I would go out of my way to avoid wearing tight bottoms, for fear that my lack of bum and lack of hips would show. I would often look at some of my black female friends and wonder why they had peachy bums, but I did not. Maybe when God was dishing out bums, he forgot about me? I then started to feel like my figure did not match what a black woman’s shape should be. Most black girls I knew had hips and a juicy bum, regardless of their weight.
I did experience puppy love when I was about 15. The guy was more obsessed with my face and smile more than anything else. That was refreshing!
Fast-forward to my early 20’s and I came across this guy via social media. Let’s call him Henry. I and Henry’s automatic spark really fascinated me. We could talk for hours on end and it felt like I had known him for years. It was the 1st time that I had ever experienced such a thing with someone. When we met for the 1sttime there was no awkwardness. It was like two longtime friends meeting up for a catch-up.
After a few weeks, we shared an intimate moment. However, towards the end of that moment, he said, “you need to do more squats at the gym”.In other words, he was trying to say that I had no bum.
What an absolute c**t I thought. How dare you ruin the moment by saying such a cheeky thing and then repeating yourself.
This took me back to all the previous times when my fellow black men and women had something negative to say about my body. However, to be completely naked in front of someone and have them bring it up was a completely different level of disrespect that I had never experienced.
Since that incident, I vowed to myself to not allow anyone to make me feel bad about my appearance or my body. Yes, I am a black woman, but black women come in all different shades, shapes and sizes and this is the way that God made me. I started reading blogs/books that encouraged and gave tips on ways to become more self-confident, and truly love yourself (inside and out) regardless of what anyone has to say.
One tip that really helped me out was to look in the mirror every day and continuously speak words of affirmation in regards to myself and my body. I would say positive things about every part of my body that I was insecure about, and I said it like I meant it. After about a week, I indeed felt great about the things that I was previously made to feel less of a woman for.
Another tip that helped me out was “dress according to your shape, and do so with CONFIDENCE”.
There was nothing stopping me from wearing jeans, but for years I’d opted against it because of negative words from other people. I had allowed other people to prevent me from being confident about myself. Confidence was key, and I was lacking that. Due to that, I was giving away my power to useless individuals.
Fast-forward to the woman that I am today. My self-love journey is an ongoing one. Some days I feel like the most beautiful woman in the world, and other days I feel urgh! However, I acknowledge that this is perfectly normal. The amazing thing though, is that I dress however I feel comfortable. Whether that is in a bodycon dress, maxi dress, sundress, jeans, skirt, shorts, I no longer feel self-conscious about how my body is perceived by others. I wear what I want, how I want, and with confidence. Booty or no booty I am a beautiful black woman and nothing can change that.