What were you like at 15?
Being a teenager was really hard for me. I was a nerd. Socially awkward. A wallflower.
I hated how my face looked with the mandatory short hair cut (like I had 1 centimetre of hair). I hated my “negro nose” and wished it was less wide and more straight like my mom’s. I thought my lips were too big. I felt my ears were too big. Let’s not talk about how FAT I felt. I could not deal with all the changes in my body, I truly saw myself as a whale.
You can say that my body has been this way more or less since I was 14. My mates look pretty much the same as me now (or bigger), but back then, most of them were still pretty tiny. I remember when someone said my hips were wide like I was someone’s mother. I remember how she said it, where she said it, because it really stung.
Your hips look like a mother’s.
Today I’m 23 and I still do not know where all those deep feelings of inadequacy came from back then. I was loved at home, I had my priorities in order and was focused on my books. I was watching cartoons, mostly so it wasn’t even about the media. Boys? I really wasn’t checking for them, and I’ve always known that their opinions about me, are not valid.
When MeeMee and I were 15, we were in SS3 (that is, our senior year of high school). That was the year my body image issues were at their peak.
On the day we had to take our yearbook photos, everyone was buzzed! So excited. But I? I couldn’t do it. I really could not bring myself to have this ugliness documented. I could not. I tried, but I couldn’t do it. I left the library, where the photos were happening, and went to my empty class and cried my eyes out. MeeMee to the rescue. She could not make me go get my photo taken, but at least I stopped crying and made it through the rest of the day. (Best friend of life!)
Our Principal decided that the photos did not look prim and proper enough, so that shoot was trashed, and another one was set up for later. By this time, my head was in a better space and I was able to smile for the camera. I wish I could find that photo today.
I know how it feels to not love yourself, to not like the way you look.
I see people dismissing body image issues- and telling young girls things like it’s your brains that matter! It’s your personality that matters! True. These things matter, but it is unhealthy to think you’re living your best life without LOVING all the parts of you. It is not shallow that you want to love the face you see in the mirror.
Today, my face, my body has not changed. It’s not perfect, it’s not for everybody, but I have changed, I’m different now. I’m not perfect, though, I still have my moments but I love what I see, and I think this is so important. I want YOU to love what you see too.
This Saturday I’ll be at ‘Project Loving You’, and I want you to come.
Come with your friend, come with your younger cousin. Come let’s have these important conversations, us women- from 13 and up.
Attendance is free, but seats are limited, so you’d have to register in advance.
‘Project Loving You’ is an initiative of The Girl Journey, a charity dedicated to setting a new standard of beauty in a world that has its own pre-formed ideas of what beauty should look and feel like. The Girl Journey is helping girls transform self-doubt into self-love by providing a safe space to connect and have honest conversations about topics that matter including but not limited to education, sex, beauty and empowerment. The Girl Journey works to help the girl child love who she is, to see all the positives in herself, how to harness these positives, shape her immediate environment and to empower her to inspire the same in others.
We’ll be talking about self worth and beauty, about feeling unpretty and Loving You, about turning self doubt to self love. We’ll have spoken word poetry, live music and games.
There’s also going to be an au naturel photoshoot at the event, as in, natural hair and no makeup. And not unsurprisingly, I’m breaking out A LOT this week. Welp. The photos may not be the best thing to ever happen to me but you know what? I’ll live!
See you on Saturday, and please share this with someone! 🙂
Project Loving You
Saturday, April 23, 2016.
Terrakulture, Tiamiyu Savage Street, off Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Before you go, could you say 3 positive things about yourself in the comments? 🙂You is kind, you is smart, you is important. Click To Tweet