Long thin feet.
Of all the insecurities I’ve battled with in regards to womanhood and beauty, I had obsessed over the latter, for years. Medically referred to as deep tear troughs, under-eye lines are the overlooked step-sister of under-eye bags. When I started to notice how unsightly I looked in pictures because of them, I sought out a temporary daily fix: concealer.
Growing up, I had a mild level of body dysmorphia like most girls; I was lanky and a member of the “itty bitty everything” committee. Subsequently, my body was never the center of positive attention. Other girls my age were “blooming” or “maturing” while I continued to carry my boyish frame like a ball and chain. I tried to gain weight by eating more, taking supplements and doing all the exercises to “add curves.”
Time and time again those efforts failed.
I left it alone and focused my beauty obsession on the part of my body people actually complimented: my face.
For years, people would call me a “pretty girl.” I'd accept their compliments with a smile, grateful that someone was kind enough to validate me. However, at the core of myself, I never agreed with them.
I didn’t see myself as a “pretty girl” at all. I'd stare in the mirror for long stretches of time pulling at my skin, poking and squeezing, imagining what my face would look like if I surgically changed a few things. The lines caused by my deep tear troughs were the center focus. When I smiled, my under eyes looked gaunt and I appeared to be perpetually tired. I tried plumping creams, used a collagen stimulator machine, and watched endless Youtube tutorials about how to apply concealer in a way to trick the onlooker from noticing my structural flaw.
I tried, but my efforts only amplified my discontentment.
Just a year and a half ago I went to a reconstructive surgeon I knew and asked him what I could do. I presented him with all my research on dermal fillers, facial fat transfer, and even lower eyelid blepharoplasty. He listened to my thoughts and gave me a few brochures with additional information.
Then, with a very straight face he said, “My dear you do not want to go down this road. You don't need any of these treatments. Like you told me at the beginning of this appointment: this is how God made you. Just know you are beautiful.”
We proceeded to conclude the rest of our appointment with office cordiality. I then left the office, sat in my car and cried. I thought to myself, “I’ll never be fixed.” I’d never have the opportunity to look airbrushed or fully rested without the caking on of makeup. I'd be indebted to concealer for the rest of my life. All I wanted was to look fresh faced and alert. I grew weary of coveting girls with flawless complexions and normal anatomical facial structure. I had put aside my envy of curvy bodied woman, but this was much more difficult.
In March 2015, I landed a nursing job in Brooklyn, affording me the opportunity to finally move to my dream city. I fell in love with Brooklyn at the age of 12, and had since been dreaming of one day calling it ‘home’. After facing many years of post-college frustrations, relational letdowns, and unconscious pretense, I needed a fresh start.
New York embodies an unshakable allure.
It’s the kind of city where you can either be like everyone else or be yourself.
The kind of place that will either pressure you to conform or free you to break out of the box.
After a few years of wearing straight weaves, applying concealer daily, and being obsessed with my body issues, I came to Brooklyn and let it all go. I minimized my use of concealer (I probably have worn it less than 10 times in the last 9 months), adopted wearing my natural hair out, using predominantly curly extensions, and embraced that my body is what it is, and my job is to keep it healthy (not aspire to “thicken” it up).
I feel more myself now than I have in my entire life.
I am no longer afraid to present myself to others just as I am; If they accept me, then they accept me. If they don’t, then they don’t.
Now like I said earlier, I can name at least 5 things I'd change about myself right now. But I've gotten into the practice of naming 1 thing I wouldn't change for every 1 thing I would. It's about perspective. This world will consume you with discontentment if you let it. So daily I choose not to let it consume me.
God doesn't make mistakes. Therefore I chose to love myself the way He made me. I am good enough in my rawest form...and I fight everyday to believe that. I pray you start to as well.