I’ve never thought that I was ugly but I’ve also never really been that confident. I was that tall skinny black girl standing on her two ‘chicken legs.’ A living irony – a girl named Shaakira with no hips to even lie. I still didn’t think that I was ugly though. I was never really phased by colorism. I wasn’t blissfully unaware, I was aware but just living in bliss. I wasn’t dark enough to be told that I was ‘pretty for a dark skin’ or light enough to be judged for being a lightie, I was just me. It was pretty uncomplicated, a strong emphasis on the pretty because after all, this is a memoir of a solid ten. I guess I never really questioned whether or not I was pretty because I had never heard anything to the contrary, anything that really made me question if I was. Sure, my legs were skinny and for a few years, I was taller than most people, but that’s me.
DISCLAIMER: this post isn’t for the skinny black girl, nor is it for the pretty girl, it’s for the girl inside of us all who lacks the confidence in herself. This post is for me.
Confidence is a crazy thing. To have a believe in something so strong that to a certain extent, it is unshakeable, unchangeable and certainly undeniable. I’m confident in a few things in life – that God is real and loves me, that water is wet and that if you play with fire, you’re a fool if you expect not to get burnt. This right here is an exhaustive list. Beyond those few things I’m not that confident in anything.
Over the past few months I’ve begun to see a change. I’ve come to accept the fact that I am strange and often very awkward and I owe that to the first truth that I am confident in. To quote the great Foggieraw ‘God is my boast’ (if you haven’t listened to 30 & 10 go and do that right now, but make sure to come back to reading this).
We all laughed when Kylie Jenner told us that 2016 was the year of ‘realising stuff,’ but in a strange way I can relate. For me, these last few months have been a process of me realising God’s love, forgiveness and all out mercy. I knew John 3:16 and all about God’s ‘omnibenevolence’ and all of that good stuff but I feel as though my realisation was a result of my experiences over these past few months. An experience of me realising just how much God has been looking out for me despite my countless efforts and attempts to push Him away.
I think that it took what to some would be a simple realisation, for me to begin to have confidence in myself.
When I was around 18/19 I shaved my hair off, for me it was just hair, but there was that sense of fear that lingered in the back of my mind. I had never seen my head shape before. What if I had a Michael Kyle Jr. hook head? What if I looked like a boy? What if, what if, what if? I think that the only thing that made me confident in this decision was that I knew that it was just hair and that it would grow back. For me, this act wasn’t an act of confidence because it was a temporary change. But I guess in that small decision, I’ve learnt something that gives me a piece of mind. Nothing really matters because it’s all temporary (I imagine that this would be the title of the song if King Solomon and Lauryn Hill ever had a collab).
There really is no reason for me to lack confidence. God didn’t make a mistake when He made any of us. Who am I not to be confident? Holding on to the knowledge that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, why slouch and walk with my head down? So it’s not really about me having confidence in myself, it’s about me having confidence in the one who made me, it’s about me having confidence in God to believe in myself and what He has asked me to do.