How many of us women look at ourselves and think "I wish I could change this about myself."? How many images of picture perfect women do we see flashed around in our faces and how many adverts tell us how much more beautiful we can be? This is a disease of society's unrealistic expectations.

Women were not born having low self-esteem. We were not born hating the way our body curves or bends, or the shape of our faces or our noses or even how dark or light our skin is. You did not care about your weight or how tall you are. You just lived and loved innocently and wholeheartedly. I remember the first time it was pointed out how "ugly" I am. It was in primary school and my mother had just cut my hair, because like a kids do, I played in sand and got it all in my newly relaxed hair. My mother was so furious she cut it all off. I went to the school the next day and was told I look "ugly" because I had no hair. The next day I came to school wearing a beanie and refused to take it off, now conscious that my beauty is linked to my hair. From that day on I loved hair. I refused having my hair cut and to this day, I do not want to cut ALL my hair off. Then I started growing and girls around me developed breasts. Mine were quite small because I was quite a skinny girl. I started looking at myself differently and wondering why my breasts weren't as big as the other girls' my age. I started stuffing socks in my top and asking my mother to buy me bras. As puberty came, so did my breasts and every woman's worst nightmare came with them - stretchmarks. My hips got wider - stretchmarks. My thighs got bigger - stretchmarks. I just started seeing stretchmarks everywhere so I became more self-conscious about my body. I started hiding parts of me that I had no problem showing before. Life became all about how I looked and how people saw me. Any criticism concerning my image was taken with the greatest offence, and affected the way I saw myself, loved myself. 

Years have gone by and a lot has still changed about me and I am slowly learning how to love myself again. I try not to let people's expectations of beauty affect how I feel about myself. Each day I find something new to love about myself. I have learned that I have beautiful teeth, in turn making me have a beautiful smile (the first time a guy told me what beautiful teeth I have, I felt so weird about it), I have seductive eyes, I have a great personality - a strong one at that and I have a great sense of humour. Oh and did I forgot to say, I am very creative which makes me such a great writer? Hahaha okay, I think that's quite a stretch but you get the point. 

I just want to tell all the women in the world one thing: You are beautiful just as you are. Like Beyonce would say, in her song Pretty Hurts, "Perfection is a disease of a nation" and you, my friend, do not suffer from no such illness!!

 

Published by TeeCee Mbaxa