Monday, August 25, 2008

The Soapbox Diaries 1st Edition, Volume II..My Beautiful Struggle

Since it'll be a long time before I can afford a therapist, I started a blog. LOL, that's not the only reason...I also love to write and have gotten away from it professionally, only to realize something is missing...Blogging helps. But there are a few issues in my life I rarely share because of the hurt behind it--we all know that feeling. So I've discovered transparency (while keeping a few secrets to myself) is therapeutic as well, so today is my first deep deep down post. I hope you can appreciate my BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE.

I was 15 before I had my first real boyfriend. Nowadays, I’d say 15 is an age most parents will allow their daughters to start dabbling with dating, but at the time I felt I was light-years behind my peers. After all by that time, many of my girlfriends had had at least 2 or 3 steady boyfriends, several guys I knew were sexually active, and there were plenty of foul, but sadly true rumors going around to make up for everyone else in between.

As for me, I was never the “pretty friend”—I was the shy, laid-back, dark-skinned, athletic chic with the tomboy body to match—so even after I grew out of my tomboy phase during my sophomore year of high school, it seemed my ‘role’ had been cast. I just began to accept it. I’m forever grateful that many of my pretty friends are more than just a cute face. Several are still close to me today and are both beautiful inside and out, but unluckily for me, I began to harbor some crazy, silly opinions of myself during my teenage years. What I felt I lacked in physical beauty, I tried to make up for with my talents in sports and music and wearing nice clothes, but the real reason behind my shortcomings is another blog for another day. Needless to say I had a hard time being comfortable in my own skin.

And then there was Dante*. I admit there was never real chemistry between us or even a strong attraction—well actually that’s me speaking for myself in hindsight—but at the time all I knew was there was someone who actually liked me and thought I was the pretty friend. He was cute. Chocolate complexion, about 6”1’, lanky build, three years older than me. One thing that was attractive about Dante* was his eyes—the color of dark brown sugar, so clear and innocent—and the prettiest, long eyelashes I’d ever noticed on a guy.

Dante* and I met one summer during a week-long religious meeting I attended with my grandparents. I honestly don’t remember exactly how we met, but he was the friend of a friend of a friend. He was from Cleveland about an hour from me, which meant long distance calls, but we exchanged numbers anyway to keep in touch. The first night he called, we talked for hours about our likes and dislikes and after we decided we had enough in common to warrant liking one another, he asked me to be his girlfriend and I said yes. There were no frills or thrills about this ‘relationship,’ no real drama, miraculously lasted about six months. Long story short, after running up his parents’ phone bill to $200+ a few months in a row with no job to pay them back, after the time he embarrassed me by hitching a ride to da ‘Yo with $20 talkin about dinner and a movie (plus gas $$ to get back!), after pissing me off a few times by pressuring me into a couple cheap feels, after I found out he dropped out of high school and didn’t seem to have plans to go back—we broke up. He realized he really was in no position to be someone’s boyfriend, and I realized I wasn’t that desperate for a boyfriend. I’m a crybaby, so I cried a lil bit the day after we broke it off, and I was cool. More importantly I learned a lesson about how wanting a guy to find me attractive and like me for who I was, put me in a position to date a guy I felt no sparks for whatsoever.

Looking back, I can finally realize that I was never as bad looking as I thought. It was how I felt and perceived myself. For a very long time my self-esteem and level of self-confidence was only as high as how I saw myself through others’ eyes.
Cockiness is never a good look in my book (unintentional rhyme), but being confident in what you bring to the table is always attractive and sexy. It’s taken 23 years of living for me to realize this, now I’m working to implement it into my life.

I spent a lot of time hurting inside, because I lacked confidence and didn’t know how to get it. I refuse to pass this type of hurt on to my children, especially if I give birth to a daughter. It will be my most important mission to make sure she never experiences the disappointments I faced in robbing myself of personal joy. The joy that comes in embracing who you are and yes, what you look like. Ladies, I don’t care where you are in the dating game; please don’t ever settle for less.


HARD WORK, SECOND EFFORT, DEDICATION, LOYALTY & LOVE...I am the epitome of them all.

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