We all have insecurities, right? Well, I certainly do. I am going to share one of my insecurities with you, how it came to be and how I deal with it every single day of my life. Here’s what you need to know about me before we go any further, my confidence level is pretty up there, it took a lot of work to get here, but I can confidently say I am at a point where I am not easily affected by what people have to say about my appearance, but that is not to say I don’t have triggers, I do, I am still human.
I also just want to clarify that isn’t an attempt to get you to feel sorry for me or anything like that, I simply want to share my experience in order to highlight the fact that words hurt man, even if you think you are “joking”, they fucking hurt and I don’t think it’s ever funny to joke about someone’s appearance, ever! I also want to highlight that even people as confidence as I am (or as I appear) have insecurities and triggers, so it’s never a good idea to say shit about someone’s appearance because you feel like they are confident and “can take it”, just don’t.
I had straight baby teeth, but due to cavities, my four front teeth were extracted when I was about 8 I think, they didn’t fall out naturally, so when the permanent teeth came in, they were crowded and crooked. I was a kid so I really didn’t think anything of it until I started getting comments on them. My incisors were much higher than the rest of my teeth, so you can imagine the nicknames, yes, I have been called a vampire before.
My family couldn’t afford braces, and because I was so young, my parents hoped that they’d straighten out as I grew up, they did for the most part, but not completely, however, they definitely look better now than they did back then, they are still not straight though. Anyway, for some reason, people felt compelled to tell me just how jacked up my teeth were. I was aware that my teeth were different from other kids’ teeth, but I didn’t think it was a bad thing until I started getting mean nicknames and being teased about it. Let me tell you man, kids can be assholes (I said what I said).
Because of the constant teasing, unsolicited “advice” and comments, I started being insecure and very self conscious and I didn’t smile as much. Most of my pictures, I would smile with my mouth closed, or not smile at all, well into my teens. I joined in on the mean comments and picked myself apart over my teeth and not having a beautiful smile. I resented my parents for not affording to fix my teeth.
I think it was when I was 17 or 18 that I decided to stop being so mean to myself and I started forcing myself to smile more. I had to unlearn a lot of nonsense and I started replacing all the negativity with encouraging words. My confidence gradually came back, but it wasn’t overnight, and it wasn’t linear, there were ups and downs, but dammit, I was determined to do the work, and I did. And boy am I glad I did it, it really would be an injustice to deny the world my gorgeous smile!
The thing about being teased about a physical feature is that sometimes you had no idea it was a “flaw” until people started pointing it out and making fun of you for it. It really stays with you, even if it is meant as “light-hearted teasing”. This can be from family, relatives and friends. That shit stays with you well into your adulthood and find yourself having to unpack the trauma and love yourself, despite all the horrible shit you’ve heard about something that isn’t entirely in your control.
I had to fight for my smile. I had to rebuild the walls of confidence I had as a kid, before I was harshly introduced to how mean and cruel people can be. I quickly learnt that some people hate it when they see others happy with what they consider a flaw. How dare you be happy and confident and walk around with your head held high when you are not perfect? The audacity!
People who are not happy with themselves are always looking to bring you down to their level, why, you may ask? Because misery loves company. They don’t understand how you can be perfectly content and happy with your “flaws” when they are so miserable with theirs, so instead of trying to build up their confidence and work on their happiness, they’d much rather hurt you so they bring you down a few notches. It’s a cruel and disgusting thing to do.
I hope you never stop smiling because some miserable person told you your smile is ugly, I hope you never stop wearing your favourite skirt because some asshole told you that it doesn’t suit your body type, and I sure as hell hope you never ever have to question your beauty over a troll’s comments.
If you feel that you want to make some improvements to your appearance, then do it, but just make sure that you are doing it for yourself and not because you feel like you have to, and while you are on that self improvement journey, keep loving yourself fiercely and unapologetically, don’t wait for the ideal “smile” or “weight” or whatever it is that you want to improve, to be kind to yourself. No amount of weight loss or straight teeth will bring you happiness and self love if you don’t already have them. Those should add on to something that already exists, because self love based on superficial things will fade, it is not sustainable.
I am here to tell you that you are stunning just as you are and honestly, fuck anyone who says otherwise, they are not worth your time and energy. Keep walking into rooms like you own them, keep making them wonder how you are so confident even though you are so flawed, never ever feel the need to dim your light babes, let them buy sunglasses or be blinded. It is a lot of work and it takes time to unlearn all the bullshit but it is so worth it. No one should have to carry the burden of making themselves small to accommodate miserable people, it really could never be me again!
I hope you took or learnt something from this post. Let me know what you had to unlearn in order to fully love yourself again.
Thank you for reading, I hope you have an amazing long weekend, you sexy beast you!
xoxo, Refiloe 😘