Insecurities – we all have them.
Merriam-Webster defines insecure as being “not confident or sure: uncertain”. From my experiences, these feelings of self-doubt have typically stemmed from either people’s opinions, or the comparison of myself to a perceived “better” I wished I could be.
In my almost 25 years of life, I’ve had mountains of things to feel insecure about. Just thinking about my early years, a lot of my insecurities stemmed from being one of the only black families in a mostly white community. Being the daughter of two Nigerian Immigrants, to say I “stood out” would be the understatement of the year. During my younger years, instead of celebrating the things that made me unique from my peers, I instead focused on why I was different, and why I couldn’t be like everyone else. Why wasn’t my skin color like everyone else’s around me? Why wasn’t my hair texture like everyone else? Why did we eat different foods than my friends ate? I’m embarrassed to say, growing up, I felt ashamed of who I was. Partly because at that time, the celebration of black beauty and culture in society wasn’t as prevalent as it is today. Another part due just being an immature kid wanting to fit in. I’ve been bullied because of the color of my skin, the uniqueness of my name (I didn’t know too many people named Anna Onyekachukwu Ucheomumu growing up), and things that basically made me – me.
My middle & high school years (and partly college years), typical insecurities one would expect arose: Am I pretty enough? Why can’t I look like her.. Am I thin enough? Why can’t I get good grades like this person? I wish my family was rich and wore nicer clothes like that family. I wish I could fit in with the popular crowd. Notice how all my insecurities at the time, though different in topic, all stem from focusing on the opinions or the materialistic items of what I’ll call the “other”. This “other” we aspire to be, seek validation from, and compare ourselves to, take SO much away from who we already are, what we already have, and who we were meant to be. There was a point in my life that I was so desperate trying to become this desired “other” that I was destroying who I was – literally. I wanted to be thin, so I hardly ate. I wanted to fit in with the cool kids, so I did things that weren’t me at all in order to seek their validation. I wanted to change physical characteristics of myself, from my size of my nose to the size of my chest and bottom, just to look like what society says is “pretty”. Tried to change and dull down my interesting (& at times eccentric) personality in order to appease others. IT. WAS. MADNESS.
Well let me first start off by saying: who ever said “comparison is a thief of joy” was absolutely 100% correct. Literal joy and peace of mind were stolen from me – and I was allowing it – because I was so worried about fitting in with the perceived better “other”. I wish I could say that I’ve always been this strong, confident, and proud black woman who has always looked at herself as a Queen, but that was hardly the case AT ALL. It took a long long LONG time to finally love myself the way I am – from the color of my skin, to the kinky texture of my hair, to the eccentricity of my personality, all the way to the type of friends I have. The journey of self-love is a never ending journey. When you put all your focus on the “other” you aspire to be, you take focus away from the treasures you already have. Seriously. When I stopped focusing on why my skin color wasn’t like my white classmates, it left me room to focus on the beauty of my black skin, and how it looked beautifully golden in the sun. When I stopped focusing on why my hair didn’t look or feel like the people around me, it left me room to realize that my hair wasn’t just kinky, it was a CROWN to be celebrated. When I stopped focusing on not being as skinny as the fashion model in a magazine, it left me room to realize that my body IS beautiful, and a temple to be respected, fed and nourished. When I stopped focusing on how much others had, it left me room to focus on the treasures I already have, and how much they mean to me. Basically what I’m trying to say is, WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF. You already ARE enough; that is not to say you can never make changes to yourself. If you want a different nose, body, face, personality, lifestyle, do it for YOU, not because other people make you feel like you have to.
Another thing to point out, the “other” you want to be so badly, may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Also, you can change everything about yourself to be this perceived “perfect” version of yourself, and people will still have something to critique.
You could be the most beautiful and sweet smelling flower, and there will STILL be people out there who hate flowers regardless – so why not just grow into whoever you’re meant to be despite what others think?
Looking at myself today, am I insecurity free? Hell no – but one thing I’m proud to say is how I handle those passing feelings of insecurities. At this awkward adult stage in my life, insecurities have shifted into a whole new area. Especially this crazy NFL life Kamalu and I live, it adds on to a pile of things we feel insecure about. Just to give you a glance of some insecurities I’ve run into in my adult years, a lot of them stem from where I am in life. I’ve felt insecure with where I am in terms of chasing my dreams – I’m 2 years out of college and am nowhere near the life goals of who I aspired to be. I’ve felt insecure about living with my boyfriend while still being unmarried – in a time where it seems like everyone I know is either engaged, married, or starting families with their loved ones, while I’m an unmarried dog mom of 2 who still forgets to make a shopping list when grocery shopping. I’ve felt insecure about sharing Kamalu’s football career journey – for all we know, we could go from celebrating Gameday & taking cute training camp pictures to jobless & scrambling to move and find a job in .2 seconds. I even felt insecure starting this BLOG – what if everyone thinks it’s stupid and don’t pay it any attention.
When these feelings of insecurity arise, I quickly remind myself who tf I am (yes, I had to add the “tf”). Knowing who you are really helps you stay true to yourself. Also, why let other peoples opinions of you limit what you’re meant to be? The world will be full of people telling you “No” or “You’re not good enough”, so why on EARTH would you want to be apart of that group saying “no” to yourself? NEVER say no to yourself. NEVER limit yourself. NEVER try to change who you are to fit in. We as people are not meant to be like 100% the same; not everyone’s stories are the same. I truly believe the big man upstairs made each of us to be unique beings. We all have our own paths and are meant to do things on our own (& God’s) timeline. So instead of worrying about why your story doesn’t look like someone else’s, talk to God about your story, get excited about where YOUR story could potentially head next.
You are a treasure just the way you are, even if you aren’t where you want to be. Never feel insecure about who you are, your journey, or the timeline you achieve it. You and your story are unique, and deserve to be told without the shackles of insecurity silencing your voice.
Thanks for reading,