SELF-CONFIDENCE: A NATURAL MAGIC

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COOL GIRL 101
 

WHEN I WAS ABOUT 16 OR SO, I HAD DEVELOPED THIS CRUSH. HE WASN'T THE MOST INTROVERTED INDIVIDUAL, I'LL SAY. HE WAS A FUNNY KID, VERY POPULAR, UNLIKE ME. AS I GREW UP, I KNEW THAT I HAD GOTTEN HIS ATTENTION. BUT IT SEEMED LIKE NO MATTER HOW INTELLIGENT AND COOL I TRIED TO BE, IT WAS NEVER ENOUGH.

ONE NIGHT, WE WENT TO A BOWLING ALLEY AND I WAS SUPER EXCITED BECAUSE I KNEW HE WOULD SHOW UP. WHEN I ARRIVED, I SAW ANOTHER GIRL THERE. SHE WAS SITTING ON ALL THE GUYS' LAPS, LAUGHING AND MAKING HER PRESENCE KNOWN. SHE HAD ON THIS LOW CUT TOP AND SUPER TIGHT JEANS. AT THE TIME, I WAS NOT AS OUTGOING OR STYLISH. BUT NEVERTHELESS, HE SAT NEXT TO ME AND WE STARTED TO TALK. FINALLY!

WE STARTED CATCHING UP AND AFTER ABOUT 10 MINUTES, THE GIRL CAME UP TO HIM AND THREW HER ARMS AROUND HIS NECK. WOW. I COULD NEVER BE THAT CONFIDENT, I THOUGHT TO MYSELF. I FELT A SENSE OF LOSS, LIKE I WOULD NEVER GET THROUGH TO HIM. I DIDN'T FEEL I HAD THE RIGHT LOOKS OR LISTEN TO THE RIGHT MUSIC OR KNOW THE PUNCH LINES TO HIS JOKES. 

YEARS LATER, I CAN SAY THAT I SPENT A LOT OF TIME TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT I WAS DOING WRONG. WHY WASN'T I GOOD ENOUGH? I CHANGED MY HAIR AND WAS GOING TO THE GYM AND SCOURING FOR COOL OUTFITS AT THRIFT STORES! BUT I COULDN'T KEEP UP WITH HIS CREW, THEY WERE ONLY PAYING ATTENTION TO THE GIRLS LIVING A FAST LIFE. 

LOOKING BACK, I REALIZE JUST HOW MUCH TIME I USED UP TRYING TO NAVIGATE HOW ONE SHOULD CARRY THEMSELVES IN THE WORLD. BEING YOURSELF IS REALLY HARD TO DO SOMETIMES, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HAVE THE ADDED PRESSURES OF PEERS, SOCIAL MEDIA, SOCIETY, ETC.

BEING COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OWN SKIN IS REALLY COMPLEX.

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ESSENTIAL ENERGIES
 

AS A MULTI-ETHNIC WOMAN LIVING IN A WORLD WHERE WE ARE FINALLY HAVING MORE OPEN CONVERSATIONS ABOUT BEAUTY AND RACE AND FEMINISM, I CAME A LONG WAY FROM THE GIRL I WAS. AS I APPROACH MY LATE 20'S, I'VE COME TO LEARN THAT IT'S ESSENTIAL TO BE A FIGHTER. AND IT'S ALSO ESSENTIAL TO PROTECT YOUR ENERGY. I THINK IN MY PAST, I FELT LIKE I DIDN'T HAVE A VOICE. I WAS TOO SCARED TO ASSERT MY BELIEFS AND PURPOSE. 

I WAS DEPLETING MYSELF OF MY SERENITY AND QUIET TIME. 

ALONG THE WAY I'VE HAD TO TURN OVER NEW LEAVES AND LEARN TO CREATE A SPACE THAT WOULD ATTRACT THE RIGHT ENERGY. I HAD TO REMOVE MYSELF FROM LIFELESS FRIENDSHIPS, INFLUENCES THAT WERE HOLDING ME BACK. I HAD TO ASSERT MYSELF AND GET KNOCKED DOWN MANY TIMES. THE DIFFERENCE NOW IS THAT I ALWAYS GET BACK UP SWINGING. YOU CAN'T BE SHY ABOUT ENFORCING YOUR OWN BOUNDARIES. THROUGH THESE STRUGGLES, I'VE COME TO LEARN THE NATURAL MAGIC: SELF-CONFIDENCE. IT'S A SURVIVAL SKILL THAT WE MUST ALL LEARN.

WHEN YOU'VE BEEN LET DOWN, FELT YOU WEREN'T RIGHT OR GOOD ENOUGH, TAKEN BLOWS TO YOUR SELF-ESTEEM, YOU REALIZE THAT IT'S NOT A SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE TO LIE DOWN AND TAKE IT. THAT STRONG MINDSET AND SELF-ASSURANCE CAME FROM THE TUNNEL, AND NOT THE LIGHT. IT'S OUR DOWNFALLS THAT MAKE UP OUR STRENGTH AND ATTITUDE. 

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TRUSTING THE PROCESS
 

WHEN YOU LIKE YOURSELF, YOU WILL SOMETIMES ENCOUNTER OTHERS WHO CAN'T BE HAPPY ABOUT ANYTHING. OR THEY WON'T GIVE YOU THE CREDIT FOR LIVING YOUR BEST VERSION. IT'S NOT YOUR JOB TO TAP DANCE FOR THEM. WE SHOULDN'T MAKE IT A PRIORITY TO MEET THEM AT THEIR COMFORT LEVEL. THAT WOULD MEAN COMPROMISING YOUR OWN SELF-WORTH. 

I'M A YOGI YES, BUT I'M NOT YOUR YOGA MAT.

THINK ABOUT HOW MANY TIMES YOU CHANGE LITTLE THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF FOR OTHERS. THE EXTRA WORK YOU DID BUT NEVER MENTIONED IT TO YOUR BOSS SO YOU WOULDN'T SEEM BOASTFUL, THE SHOES YOU DIDN'T WEAR SO YOU WOULDN'T BE TOO "LOUD", OR OVERLOOKING THE PAIN FROM A "FRIEND" THAT IS ALWAYS MAKING FUN OF YOU.

SELF-REDUCTION COMES FROM FEAR OF GREATNESS. IT'S THESE LITTLE DETAILS THAT WE CHANGE ABOUT OURSELVES THAT MOVE US FURTHER AWAY FROM OUR DREAMS. WE MUST CONSTANTLY, EVEN DAILY, GIVE OURSELVES REMINDERS TO KEEP OUR CONFIDENCE STRONG. NEVER GIVE AWAY YOUR VALUE AS AN INDIVIDUAL, IT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT SOURCE OF PRIDE YOU WILL EVER HAVE.

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A RECIPE FOR NATURAL MAGIC
 

  1. IF THEY CAN'T SEE THAT YOU ARE A VERSATILE INDIVIDUAL CAPABLE OF GROWTH, ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THEY'RE SIMPLY NOT WORTHY. 
     

  2. WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF HIDING WHO YOU ARE, YOU'RE IN THE WRONG CIRCLE.
     

  3. AND THE TRUTH IS, SOME PEOPLE WILL BE DISAPPOINTED BY YOUR ABILITY TO STAND ON YOUR OWN TWO FEET. THEY'LL PUT A LID ON YOUR TRUTH BECAUSE THEY CAN'T SPEAK THEIR OWN. REJECT THIS AT ALL COSTS.