The Things I Used To Hate About Myself [Win a 32 Candles Tote Bag!]

A lot of 32 CANDLES is about reconciling the kid you were with the adult you’ve become. And it occurred to me the other day that other than my chronic case of foot-in-mouth disease, most of the things that I hated about myself as a kid are now the things that I love the most.

When I was a child all I wanted was to have super-straight and long hair, a better personality (my general strangeness was like friend repellant), and most of all, skin that wasn’t dark. Light-skin would have been best, but I would have settled for brown, or even just not being the darkest girl in my elementary school classroom.

Well, I ended up getting a perm, only to cut it out and go natural at the age of 17. As it turned out, relaxers were expensive and a lot of work, and I didn’t have time, money or energy like that. So, I went with the much-easier natural, and eventually moved on to dreadlocks at the age of 21.

Funnily enough, my locks got so long, that they became a lot of work, too (hard to clean, hard to style, hard to manage unless I pulled them back and out of the way). So I cut those off, too, and now I’m once again rocking a natural — ie a wonderful style that I could have easily maintained when I was a kid and just hated my kinky hair.

As for my personality problems, those were solved, too. When I was a kid I went through several phases of trying to reshape myself into someone that other kids would like. I tried dressing like people I saw on TV, catering to the popular kids, and lying to fit in or stand out. As you might have imagined, all of these attempts at personality-modification backfired horribly, and I remained unpopular until I struck upon a solution so perfect that to this day, I wish I had figured it out sooner. I just accepted that I was unpopular and started being myself: loud, obnoxious, nerdy, and strange . Lo and behold, this solution won me a ton of quality friends. I doubt I’ll ever be in the position of just scads and scads of people liking me, but I think it’s better to know that those who do like you, like your for yourself, and those who don’t probably aren’t people you’d want as friends anyway. Oh, and all that lying I did as a kid was a nice little primer for my writing career, so hoorays all around.

Last but not least, I can’t quite put my finger on when I began to not just be okay with but completely adore my dark skin. Maybe it was my late teens or my early twenties, but somewhere along the line, the aesthetic quality that used to make me heart-cringely different became my best feature. I love that I tend to stand out in an LA crowd. I love that colors really pop on me. I love the kind of men who have been attracted to me here in America: usually kind, deep thinkers who operate outside the box and don’t let the MSM dictate to them who should be considered beautiful — my husband being the best of them. I love that I’m rarely told by others that they have another friend who looks just like me. To simplify, I just love the skin I’m in.

So hair, personality, and skin — those are the things that I used to hate about myself when I was a kid, but am totally in love with now. How about you? Tell us what you used to not like about yourself but now rock with pride. One comment will be featured in next week’s Wednesday column and (drumroll please) the writer will get a 32 Candles tote bag.

100% Yay!