I am a 28 year old girl-woman who is very confident in who I am and what I represent. This hasn't always been the case though. My teenage years were filled with plenty insecurities...I spent most of those years growing up with a childhood bestie who was the “hot girl” and although I loved her and still love her to death, I always felt like everyone was always comparing my then simple tom-boyishness to her ever glamorous self. She is the first born and only girl in a house full of boys and so her mom constantly laced her with all the latest baffs and she always had her hair done right. In addition to that, she was and still is a very pretty girl/hot babe and constantly had lots of dudes on her case. In comparison to her, I am the last born in my family who grew up with 2 older sisters and so majority of my baffs were their hand-me-downs (sidenote: I still insist that this is one reason why I love shopping. Maybe I still haven’t gotten over having my own stuff…or maybe I’m just a girl who loves to shop :-D). My hair wasn't constantly done, and I considered myself to be cute but in no way on my bestie’s level of a hot babe. And, from the way the guys flocked to her and treated me as their homegirl, it was obvious. I was treated like one of the boys, and most of the times if dudes stepped to me, it was because they wanted to find out about my bestie. Everybody wanted to get to know bestie and take her out, and for the most part, I found myself playing some kind of 3rd wheel. I remember one instance where her then boyfriend wanted to take her out on some kind of group date with his other coupled up friends and specifically asked her not to bring me along...
So in general, growing up with the hot bestie plus other random things made my teenage years (albeit very fun) also a pretty awkward and insecure time that I spent trying to fit in.
When I started University in Nigeria, my confidence picked up considerably. My dear bestie had gone off to start Uni in “Obodo Oyibo” and so I was out of her shadow and learning to do my own thing. I was a "hot" jambite and was having too much fun. But then, I got uprooted from all the good ol’ fun that I was having to relocate to Yankee, where learning to adjust to life here made my confidence take a major nose dive. I also lived with an Aunt who stifled the heck out of me and wouldn't even let me do things as basic as going to the movies. I did meet a dude but he quickly ended our short-lived relationship because he couldn't deal with not being able to constantly see and talk to me (my aunt's lockdown was epic)…then swiftly moved on to date another chick within 1 month (major confidence killer).
Over the course of the years, I got into a thing here and there with the male species but they would act out (in typical male fashion) and I would blame myself like “If I was hotter”, or “If I was more interesting”, or “If I looked like XYZ”…phew! Thinking about it now, I can only thank God that I’ve been delivered from that mentality. Looking back, I also realize that the common trend with me + men in those days was that I was constantly seeking validation. I was also very clingy and needy and these all boiled down to my insecurities. Once again, I thank the Lord for deliverance.
Around those trying times, my childhood bestie visited me in Yanks and I was still comparing myself to her like “Omg, she’s so fab and I’m so not fab”. This was someone that I had not seen in years and I couldn’t even be myself. She commented and said “wow, you’ve changed…you’re now so quiet”. And I was thinking “No, I’m not quiet, I’m just trying not to feel inadequate compared to you”.
Speaking of comparisons. All I can say is that comparison toh badt! I was very guilty of the comparing thingy, and I compared myself to everybody! I felt like all my friends were way more interesting or had more going on for them than I did. It was either that they were academically smart and made all kinds of honor roll, Deans list and what have you or they could dance, or they could sew cloth, or they could make jewelry, or they were known for having a cool sense of humor/being witty…ha niile. It was always something! I felt very plain, uninteresting and basic compared to them.
One more thing that took a toll on my self confidence was the fact that I graduated college a few months shy of turning 24. Most of my ‘mates’ graduated at like 22 so I definitely felt like I was behind schedule. It didn’t help that folks was always like “when are you going to graduate” like I was an old mama in college. When I’d go out to events, I used to dread the “So what do you do?” question ‘cos I’d have to explain that I was still in college as opposed to a professional like the rest of my mates.
Of course, there were other factors that subtracted from my self confidence and general sense of self-worth, but I won’t bore you all...
Honestly, I don’t know and can’t pin-point the turning point where I slowly began to snap out of each and every one of my complexes and stopped giving people and situations the power to determine how I felt about myself…but somehow, I grew out of that mentality. I quit being needy/clingy/and the need for validation from dudes and when they acted out, I stopped blaming myself and instead recognized that “he’s a jerk” anyway and me looking like the most beautiful girl in Nigeria or being XYZ won’t change that. I stopped looking at my friends and thinking that they had more going for them than me. How could I ever have felt “basic and uninteresting”…I must have been on drugs. I stopped feeling inadequate in all aspects and started to embrace the fact that we are all different beings. Like for instance, I can’t even compare myself to childhood bestie anymore because now I know that I will never be a fabulous type of chick but I’m more of “versatile” with my style and I dress as the spirit leads me. Sotay till today, some of my friends (including childhood bestie) say “Mgbeks, I love how you put these outfits together” or “you just be doing your own thing and you make it work”. I found what works for me/what I feel the most comfortable in, and I use it to stunt on heaux.
I also realized that part of being confident is realizing your flaws, accepting them and not feeling inadequate because of them. I also realized that you do not have to be perfect or live a perfect life to be confident. I’m still not a hot babe, I’m not endowed, I don’t consider myself to be the worldwide definition of sexy and I will be the first to tell you that I do not have game i.e. I’m not the kind of girl who dudes love to approach in social settings but when all my friends are getting numbers at parties and I'm dulling in a corner, I do not feel any type of way…I still catwalk up in that piece and do my own thing. You can’t tell me nothing. As stated in my first post, I don't have an extra-special type of job, drive an extra special type of car, or have any extra-special credentials. And in general, I’m not an extra special type of individual...infact as the years pass, my level of chill + laidback increases but I don’t feel inadequate compared to my friends who are more “interesting” or have more going for them be it career, smarts, talent or personality-wise. You get my drift?
So to summarize this extra long tori, I’m far from perfect and in the eyes of some, might not have a lot to be confident about but despite that, my self-confidence is pretty high and I’ll be the first to tell you that. I took me a while to get to this level and so I will gladly stand on any rooftop and broadcast to the world. Aint no shame in my "tooting the horn" game.