If We Were Having Coffee

I’d be telling you that I’m glad to be sitting with you today. It’s the first time I’ve left the house since Wednesday. My period hit and I was in debilitating pain for 3 days. I took pain relievers, but the ones I take cause drowsiness. So when I wasn’t writhing from pain, I was knocked out from the pain relievers.

On the plus side, I’ve never felt more rested.

A well-meaning friend sent me an email because I told her that I was feeling unattractive. It was a very long email that, once again, had me facing the idea of wearing makeup and fake hair.

I’ve long resisted the notion of doing any of these things because I liked the way I was. I felt like a rare species: a woman that doesn’t wear makeup or anything false. It was a badge of honor for a while to be like a tough girl.

The truth of the matter is that an insecurity that had been roosting under the surface for a while was unearthed, and I had to square with it.

“I’m not good enough.”

It doesn’t help to feel like at my age, I should be wearing makeup regularly, and because I’m a black woman, I should know all about the world of weaves, wigs and extensions. Honestly, the only thing I know about any of it is what I’ve been told because I don’t wear false hair. I have big hair and like it that way; sadly, there are those that don’t share this opinion.

Persecution outside of my race is one thing, and is almost expected. However, when it comes to hair, I’ve experienced the opposite: nonblack peers seem to like my hair, and black people just kind of look at me funny, but say nothing. I know they think I should straighten it. Admittedly, it has a special sting when your own race doesn’t accept and celebrate you. Other days, I don’t care though.

Anyway, back to my complicated relationship with makeup. I wasn’t raised to wear it; in fact, mom forced me to wear it for junior and senior prom. She, herself, doesn’t wear makeup. To me, it was strange for girls my age to be obsessed with wearing it. Now though, I’m not a girl anymore. The idea stuck, though. The girls that were doing their makeup and wearing weave (or that naturally have longer hair) have been snatched up left and right by great men.

Me? I’m still here. Wondering why I must change. Wondering why I’m not pretty enough as I am. Is “being yourself” a lie?

These are the questions I asked myself after reading my friend’s email. She didn’t send it intending to stir a soul search, but that’s exactly what happened.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually do like wearing makeup. Sometimes. I hate the way it makes me feel… because I like the way it makes me feel. My fear is relying heavily on the add-ons to feel like I’m beautiful. I should already feel that I am. But I don’t.

So I have to ask… why am I not good enough in the raw state?

There’s something else, too. I don’t like a lot of attention. Gussying up garners attention, and that’s always bothered me. I guess because whenever I received compliments, there was always someone giving me the evil eye in the background. What’s bad is the person giving that look was supposed to be a friend. I hated that. I also wonder how bad I must’ve looked before for someone to be giving me compliments now.

I’m also super shy around men when they aren’t seeing me as just someone to hang out with. It’s all fun and games when I’m chilling with the guys, but once that “Holy crap! She’s a girl!” thing kicks in, I’m a goner.

It’s a lot, I know. I’ll leave the life revelation there, sip my tea and see how your week is going on.


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