We live in a world where appearances define our every waking breath.
I had an amusing encounter with a beautiful 20-year-old woman who is convinced she’s unattractive.
Her tall, slender, caramel features would be the envy of many and she pulls off any outfit she wears effortlessly. Yet she’s stuck in a rut – constantly comparing herself to everybody and everything.
Her self-esteem is so low that her non-existent social life sees her spending days on end glued to the TV; absorbing far-fetched, plastic fantasies.
As long as the soundtrack to her perfect TV life plays in her head, she appears confident and assured.
Unsurprisingly, discontentment lies deep within. All the praise and compliments people pay her just serve to remind her of how untrue it all is; of how she is lacking in some way or another. I can only imagine the series of events that made her this way.
Watching E! Entertainment recently, I was horrified by celebrities and ordinary people alike who are so transfixed on wanting to look a certain way; they have completely disfigured their faces and bodies with surgery.
With mannequins and fresh, trendy teenagers lurking on every corner, society sends a deafening message to us every day; be a certain way, even if it changes tomorrow. Now, I’m not here to hate on fashonistas, I’m talking about the average person’s perception of self.
What does the fashion runway represent?
A path from the artistry of a devout creator of fashion, into the impressionable psyches of the waiting, adoring public. If your current physical or financial state does not allow you to emulate the haute couture path of the catwalk, your self-esteem is likely to dissolve into a frumpy mudslide.
How easily we forget that fashion and glamour are art forms of their own, developed by human beings who shine in their ability to create and enforce what they believe in. That’s confidence, sheer innovation. Someone has the guts to create clothes, music, jewelry, lyrics and paintings that once seemed unfathomable; now they are a billion dollar empire, controlling your mind and your life.
Because they have amassed power and influence, they are in a position to tell you how to be.
It’s not always bad though – our creative gifts were meant to be shared and bring glory to God as we decorate the earth.
The problem comes when you enhance someone’s gift and model your value upon their rules. Someone’s success and achievements should inspire you to be more like yourself.
That said, I’ve discovered that a true test of self-esteem is when you can savour all the wonderful things people create and still feel happy in your own vibe and flavour.
For example, I am not a size 28 model, my friend.
My bones have curves and my skeleton is a size 32. Since I have learned to define myself by the divine gifting of our Lord above, I can walk past a beautifully-decorated pretty young thing and be like “damn, she looks good, and so do I!”
South African poet, Lebo Mashile, said that she loves herself because “I’ve been blessed in this body, I’ve performed in this body and I’ve won awards in this body”.
To Miss Sexy Caramel and others like her, what shall I say? I dare you to stop chasing and emulating other people’s authoritative visualisations; leaving yours to evaporate.
Imagine yourself on a runway. Sit, ferment your unique brand, put it on and strut your way into life.
You’ll soon realize to pay less attention to your flaws and more to the diamonds in your palms just waiting to be polished.
And you know what else?
Other people will notice too! You may, in fact, be surprised to find your biggest critic transformed into a most prolific client.
Now strike a pose baby- hold it right there. The camera loves you, so work it!