I was always a skinny kid, skinny and shorter than all my friends. In fact, skinny, shorter and darker than all my friends. My mom didn’t have a lot of money, so I couldn’t dress well to make up for it, so I lived with a chip on my shoulder. I felt the need to prove myself in all fields that were not my lane… the best fighter, best football player, basketball player, lifter, whatever people competed in. I just wanted to prove that I was good enough to be a part of it.
When you come from where I come from your friends and family don’t even know how to compliment you. When a positive feature or characteristic will be spoken about with negativity and jokes. When I was a kid they made fun of you for being really dark skin, not that I needed more fuel for anger, but I sure had it; a lifetimes worth. If you’re a young black boy, the world is already against you. You aren’t seen as useful, beautiful, or valuable. It took a long time for me to ignore all the negativity being thrown in my face. I have heard all the “you’re so black…” jokes. But then I started to look around. I noticed it wasn’t just me. I noticed that nothing was good enough. Everybody was made fun of. Too tall, too short, too dark, too light, big lips, curly hair…everybody! I realized that this was just the way poor people tried to find something to smile about. Not poor in the concept of money but poor in the concept of no self-value.
I decided to be proud of myself. Do the things that I believed would make me happy and make me proud of myself. Provide value to my own life. I decided to search for what would make me beautiful to me. Once I was able to, all my strengths became so clear and beautiful. I stopped caring what other people thought and I started caring what I think.
Changing my focus changed my attitude and changing my attitude made me desired! Desired by myself and others. I had so much female attention and props from my athletic peers that it became overwhelming. To this day I still don’t take compliments well, but I am enjoying learning how to. I’m learning how to love myself. It makes me such a happy person and being happy with myself makes me overflow with love. I couldn’t hate on people anymore or to be angry with people. I was proud of people for doing the things I couldn’t do, as well as things that I can. Loving myself made me a better person, friend, family member.
The way I see it is we all need a good balance of selfishness. Doing all the things you love to do will quickly show you who loves to see you happy and who doesn’t.