No one ever talked to me about self esteem or variations in terms of appearance and going to a girls-only school somehow made me view all of us as the same. I would not exactly pinpoint that so and so was a pretty girl or girl ‘N’ was not so appealing to the face. All of us were girls. I later switched schools and life changed. Could be because of the prestige that my new school held(still holds) but everything just changed. And partly because there were boys. Now, I have (still do) been told that boys are bad, I should not be seen with boys and all that kind of stuff. Seeing boys was overwhelming. Not that home hakuna vijana…ni vile now I would be in the same class with them and maybe even get a boy deskmate (which I did and it was quite scary).
Suddenly, I started becoming cautious of how I looked. It’s like my eyes were opened to see what ‘beauty’ looked liked. The girls were just so pretty. Not only physically but from their ‘English of the nose’ that I was yet to learn, their physique, their walking style..Heck! I wanted to be pretty too. But I could not because my definition of beauty was twisted and no one ever told me what beauty really was/is..till today. This got to an extent that I start failing in class and the comparisons began. Folks compared me to a certain cousin of mine who was doing pretty well. And the little self esteem I had kept on diminishing. Many are the nights I cried before I slept as I could not understand why I was not like my cousin. I just could not.
Fast foward to high school and girl, I have a twisted idea of what beauty is. Here I meet very beautiful girls. I could not say we were all the same….no way. There were girls who just had well shaped bodies, others with long hair, others with really smooth skin while I had to be the one with pimple breakouts before funkies,oi! So because I was always being compared to my cousin, I also started comparing myself to these girls in school. Especially those from Nairobi. Those ones just made me struggle but not openly to fit in. Still, it did not make me feel beautiful at all. Again, my self esteem goes down past the empty signal.
After completing high school, I get a boyfriend and this was trying. I really relate well with guys than I do with girls, so I was determined to keep this boyfriend(who happened to be a high school crush) for good. I would make sure nimevaa poa or try and apply gloss on my lips so that I can look pretty because I was not really appealing and would wonder what he saw in me as I was ugly…atleast that is what I told myself and believed it.
The guy left. Apart from the crying,there was the self blame. That I was not pretty enough, that maybe if I lost my tummy he would come back and just so many excuses as to why he left. That scarred me. Anytime someone would tell me that I am beautiful, I would laugh it off and tell them a sarcastic thank you. I hid in this low self esteem cocoon for long unbeknownst to me that I was damaging myself.
Today I love me. I have been through hell and back trying to be beautiful and feel beautiful. But all that does not matter anymore. Even though my esteem is not over the roof; not as tall as I am glad it is there. The little there is, keeps me going. I love me the way I am. With all the flaws I have, I love me. And I have accepted me for me.
~Aimie Nancie Wambaire