2018 has been a very successful year for me because I finally understand that I’m completely fine. I just look at myself and I finally see myself. It took me half my life to understand it, but at least I have many more years to live differently.  

No, I didn’t go crazy. Let me explain. Since I was 18 years old, I’ve judged myself. I gained some weight, went three sizes up and my hormones took over my body. This is the age when you start understanding that your looks are judged, or at least you think so. (Well, the truth is that you are judged, so it’s not that you’re delusional.) And you have two choices – to embrace it, say “f* you” to everyone and just be who you are (as many girls – especially African-American girls here – do) or keep looking at yourself in the mirror and find new flaws. I’ve chosen the second route, and we all know where this route usually leads. And it *only* took me 18 years to get back on the right track.

And I remember exactly when it happened (I wrote about it already) – it was one extremely hot night with the highest humidity ever this past summer, when I was going to a show and was trying to look perfect and there was simply no chance to look perfect that night (sweat streaming down my whole body). I got so frustrated standing on the subway platform (West 4th subway station – hell on Earth) that I knew I just had to give up. I thought I was giving up only for that night, but apparently something switched in me permanently. I started noticing small changes in myself, in my approach towards myself, and one day I realized that…I’m cured. That I don’t stress out about my body, my skin, my hair anymore – everything is just fine. But don’t confuse “fine” with “perfect”. It never was and it never will be perfect. I was never perfect, even though I tried really hard these past years. It’s just impossible to be perfect. The magazines lie, the media lies, Instagram lies. I can take two photos – one minute apart – where I look smoking hot in one and ugly in the second one (it’s all about posing, lighting and angling ). So if you get trapped in that mindset, like I was for many years, you have to wake up.

The problem is that it’s very difficult to wake up. Your closest friends might tell you that you’re gorgeous, that you’re “amazing as you are,” and all you see in the mirror is still just Cinderella. What helped me is realizing that the more I embrace who I am, the happier I am about life in general, and that results in more people around me (including men). People just naturally gravitate towards happy people. And I’ve noticed that they gravitate towards me not looking for my flaws that I think I have, but rather they gravitate towards me because I smile at them. And I smile because I’m happy to see them, I’m happy to have a conversation and some laughs, I’m just in the moment and am grateful for that moment. (I’m not thinking of “how could I be more perfect in that moment?” anymore.) And I’m more than sure that they like me the way I am. Not the way I’ve been aspiring to be my whole life.

And I’m sure that they like you, too. No one is as focused on you as much as you are. No one is as obsessed with you as you are. And don’t forget – and this is the most important part – people/men you talk to are dealing with their flaws, too. They also think that you judge them and are trying to be their “perfect,” too. And the truth is that all we really want is to connect and have some good times together. As soon as you get it, your life will improve. Mine did, and my days became just pleasant. Make your life easier and let your perfect self go. Don’t wait 18 years as I did. Let your old self go.