I used to want to look like Kim Kardashian. As much as I hated her image, deep down, I wanted my look to look like her; I wanted the attention. Every time I post a photo, I want to be dripping with sex appeal. What woman doesn't want to be the symbol of beauty. If I had the money to change my face, would I? I wouldn't be a strong woman if I answered.
Women are measured by beauty. Beauty always outweighs intelligence. It's easy to call yourself beautiful, but it isn't easy to believe it. My family taught me well: I knew from a young age I wasn't going to be prom queen or homecoming queen. I choose athleticism and personality over beauty and femininity. I remember as a young child, I didn't have the features or the hair like my grandmother has. My friends were dainty and I was rough. I believed I didn't measure up, I believed the monkey was me.
A few years ago, I believed that lie. It took many positive affirmations and self-talk to un-believe a lie that buried me in insecurity. A lie so powerful it swept me, like the Cavs in the NBA finals. I did not think I was "pretty" enough. I felt, I wasn't. I wasn't pretty enough to be in the in crowd. I wasn't pretty enough to join the ranks of popularity. I wasn't pretty enough to be like her.
There is a beauty hierarchy we don't speak of. This hierarchy is strong amongst women. I had friends who kept up with the Kardashians. You know the friends who follow the hottest celebrities on Instagram and the friends who follow the IG models, searching for the next come up. My friends knew how to contour: they knew how to get their eye brows just right. I on the other hand wore mascara and chap stick.
My friend's lifestyle didn't bother me until I noticed a change. The Social Media culture changed their attitudes. The make-up and the likes went to their heads, they were pretty enough to join the rankings and leave me in the cold starving for love and care.
At the time, my friends made me feel it. The tension and competition tugged our relationship until we hung on threads. I could feel the shift.I wasn't invited to "the parties", our meets ups turn to stood ups, white lies and shades were thrown in my direction: my womanhood challenged. I didn't fit that lifestyle so my presence was discarded.
Once, I had a close friend tell me I was a seven out of 10 in the looks department. Vianka, you are attractive, but you not a bad. I never wanted to be a bad chick. I didn't go buy a hair straightener or buy bundles of weave to look like everyone from the cast of Love and Hip-Hop. I didn't contour my nose to fit the ideal image women search for like Kylie Jenner. I didn't want those things, yet I had other people measuring my value towards those things. Tell me I wasn't good enough, because I didn't fit their image of beautiful. My look was different, but not pretty enough.
I'll never forget the smirk on my friend's face, when a dude called me a "ugly duck" and stated "she looks better than you, you are jealous." Her smile told me she took pride when another man said she was better. His opinion didn't tear me down, it was her cosign that shattered my heart and my feelings for her; I loved her. She made me feel my pretty wasn't enough. My beauty wasn't appreciated; without appreciation there is no love, no worth.
This incident made me realize, women enforce beauty standards. Women are vocal with their displeasure in societies' beauty standards, but their actions say otherwise. Women hang out with women who look like them: Pretty women hang out with women who they think and society thinks are pretty. Have you noticed? I have noticed this for a long time, the commonalities are striking. I noticed that many friendships between women are built on status: looks and attractiveness.I also noticed my friendships were superficial. I didn't base my friendships off honesty, character, and or reliability. Those qualities are important to me.
Looking back at my childhood pictures, I was beautiful. It kills me to this day, how I treated myself. My self- confidence, prohibited me from many opportunities. I allowed too many people access. I choose not to hang out with women like that anymore. I choose not to surround myself with superficial things and surround myself with concrete love and acceptance. I don't want to be measured by my beauty anymore and I am done measuring myself up to an unattainable standard of beauty.
My looks have nothing to do with who I am as a person.