First I can’t believe I am writing this. However it has been a long time coming . This is a very personal blog and will likely have nothing to do with Style but it will share why I do what I do and why I am an advocate for all women.
I was 8 the first time I remember being called a tar baby. What does that even mean? I really had no idea I just knew it was BAD. I remember being called ugly and string bean. I remember being told my lips were to big and I had nappy hair. What did that all mean I had no idea I just knew it was BAD.
I was 12 the first time I remember being told I stink. I remember being told I had bad hair filled with cockroaches. I was about 12 when a boy I liked struck a match next to my face to see if dried up black twigs burned.
I was 14 and already almost 6 foot tall the first time a shorter boy danced with me and laid his head in my chest.
I was 15 the first time a boy told be he wanted to date me in secret. Not because he didn’t like me but because I was ugly and he didn’t want his friends to know he liked me.
I was 15 the first time a boy put his hands on me violently and called me a slut
I was 16 when I started eating more than my body needed so my body would hide my boobs
I was 17 when my boyfriend ask me to have sex with his friend and when I refused he left me at a gas station with no money miles from home
I was 18 the last time I was violated by a boy
I was 21 when the boy who wanted me to be his wife called me a whore and broke my heart
I was 25 on my wedding day marrying the man of my dreams praying I did not look too ugly in my wedding gown
I was 32 when I found out I was planned
I was 35 the first time I saw a photo of me I liked
I was 36 the first time I heard my father say he was proud of me
I was 36 the first time I was told I was worth it
I am 37 and I finally know I am beautiful
Ok that was hard. So why did I write it. It is necessary.
I have spent my whole life reinforcing the statement you are not beautiful nor am I good enough. I have always saw myself as sassy, powerful at times, sometimes cute but never pretty and darn sure not beautiful. But I started thinking a few years ago WHY. Why couldn’t I see myself as attractive and about a month ago the floodgates opened and as much as I tried not to do this work it wouldn’t let go.
I never except negative talk from clients I think all of the people I work with are stunning. I would go home after client work and go what the heck is wrong with these people they just don’t know how beautiful they are. Then I would list all the things I wish I had to make me beautiful.
Then I would work on a magazine project or a photo shoot and I would think I am where I belong behind the camera doing the work to make it all look great. I would think at least you are on the set and that I have reached the top of my ladder and any higher is for better people than me.
I would receive praise or an award and I would think great but they didn’t really mean that for me or there are 4 others I would never get. The list can go on.
When did I start thinking it was ok NOT to be worth it. When did I start looking in the mirror and telling myself this is close enough. I guess if I am honest I was 8 and someone called me tar baby.
I am writing this because I spoke to a group of 7th and 8th graders and I saw in their faces wonder, hope and the future. I saw kids dressed up and looking sharp. I saw class clowns and quiet nerds and I started thinking have they put a cap on their worth yet. Or is it still possible for them to have endless possibilities.
I have some of the best girlfriends in the world and when I told them about me never thinking I was beautiful or that I was worth more let’s just say that did not go over well with them. They challenged my thinking and made me rethink the last 30 years of my life and for that I am grateful because now I am make the following statement-
I am Malia Anderson
I have dark skin
I am six foot tall
I rock my curves
I am a successful North Bay Wardrobe Stylist
I am a magazine contributor
I am an award winning business owner
I am a happy wife
I am a girlfriend to many
I am lover of books
I am a daughter who is loved
I am the oldest of an amazing group of grandchildren
I am not perfect but I am enough
I am pretty
I am smart
I am talented
I AM BEAUTIFUL AND I AM WORTH ALL THE JOYS AND BLESSING BESTOWED ON ME.
So why did I feel compelled to share this about myself I don’t really know I just know I needed to share for my 8 year old self and for every cute awkward kids I come across. If we teach young people they can be great I believe we will see a future full of greatness.
This Blog was originally published in 2015. My truth is in the above words