My mom didn’t technically let me wear makeup until I was in 8th grade but in 6th and 7th grade…….. I would sneak and wear it anyway. So many girls were already wearing it, and it was only supposed to enhance your beauty right? I suppose that’s the REAL purpose of it but that’s definitely not why I wore it. I wore it because I had the most horrible skin a pre-teen could’ve been given (in my mind). Wearing makeup made me feel less insecure and more beautiful. When I wore it, boys actually talked to me. It didn’t matter on a regular day without it how smart I was, how nice of a girl I was, or even that I had a great personality. When I wore makeup, boys simply thought I was pretty. And sadly, that’s when I believed it. My identity was tied up in covering what I thought was ugly and blossoming into someone who I thought was more attractive. Once my mom started letting me wear makeup, I wore it to school almost everyday until I was a senior in high school. My skin wasn’t as bad as I aged, but I still felt more confident and more of myself when I covered it. In high school, nobody really could tell when I wore makeup and when I didn’t but to me, it made all the difference. My identity was so wrapped up in covering what I thought was unacceptable, wrapped up in what other people thought, and wrapped up in if I was physically attractive or desirable. Outside of wearing makeup, I was also shaped differently than other women my age. I filled out my clothing a little bit more if you catch my drift, so even my body type and shape made me question if I was pretty enough or as attractive as other girls.
Now as a 21 year old woman, I honestly could care less about wearing makeup. Half the time, you’ll never see me wearing it. But that doesn’t mean I’ve mastered the art of being free and loving exactly who I am. I still have doubts, insecure moments, and times where I don’t feel good enough but it’s not NEARLY as bad as it was in middle school and high school. I’m still struggling with identity and making sure I base mine in what’s really important but God has surely shown up and shown out when it comes to helping me understand who I am in Him and what actually matters.
Recently, I’ve come to realize that I wasn’t the only one who struggled severely with identity in those teen years. Present day, girls in vulnerable places in life such as middle and high school still struggle dangerously with the same issues I did. A few days ago, I worked with a photographer who took pictures of high school girls in organizations such as dance, volleyball, cheer, etc. These were some of the most lively and funny girls but they were so perplexed with insecurities and identity issues. Some of the comments they made about themselves arrested my heart and made me ache for them. These beautiful and talented girls called themselves fat, talked about their eye shape, tried to hide certain parts of their bodies, questioned if they wore enough makeup to cover imperfections, and overall seemed so unsure of themselves when being photographed. I was overwhelmed and hit with nostalgia like never before. I was brought back to my 7th grade self begging my mom to let me wear makeup, crying because certain boys didn’t find me attractive because of my body or skin color, and trying to do my very best to cover up parts of myself.
I longed for these girls to redirect their frustration and insecurities into loving themselves. I wanted them to know that they were fully loved and fully known by such a gracious God who wouldnt have made them any different than they needed to be. I began to pray for them because that’s what I hoped someone was doing for me in those years. This has been weighing on my heart so heavy, I decided to give a pep talk to these girls as they prepare to go back to school.
To the girls in middle and high school swimming in a sea of insecurities:
I hate the question “Am I good enough?”. Stop asking mere humans a question that they have no right and no expertise to answer. The only one who can answer this question is God and his response is always YES. You were enough when He planted you inside your mothers womb. The minute you were formed, you were enough. You were smart enough. You were attractive enough. You were funny enough. In fact, you have been and will always be MORE than enough. Enough means to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations. You are not required to meet the demands, needs, or expectations of anyone but God. And for Him, you will always be enough.
You are unconditionally and fully loved while also being unconditionally and fully known by the Lord. He loves EVEN THOUGH He knows you. You don’t have to do anything to earn it or cover up your imperfections when you come before Him. He knows the mistakes you’ve made, the bad habits you have, the imperfect parts you believe you have, and the insecurities you’ve developed and He could not care less. He loves you anyway through any and everything. He loves you in your most confident moments and even your most insecure, self-deprecating moments. When friends leave, people hurt you, or you don’t feel good enough, know that He knows you and He loves you anyway.
Who cares if a boy doesn’t like you for exactly who you are? Some of the boys you find yourself so attached to will turn out to be nothing like you need or even want in your life. Take it slow. Just because everyone else is dating doesn’t mean you have to. Don’t settle or compromise who you are for ANY boy. Middle school and high school boys still have some growing to do – as do you. Don’t stress or become overly concerned with having a boyfriend. Take this time to learn, grow, develop your passions, and love yourself. Love will come when it is time.
I could say everything to you that I wish my 7th grade or 9th grade or even 11th grade self would’ve known but I’ll just leave you with this prayer:
Today, I come to you so extremely grateful for any woman or girl reading this. I’m so in awe of your love for us and the mercy and grace you give us every single day with no regards to who we are or what mistakes we’ve made. Today, I pray that every girl going back to school would come to know you so deeply and so personally that the knowledge she has of You will shift the way she views herself. I pray that the love You give them would spill over into the love they give themselves. I pray that no insecurity or self doubt would hinder these young women from learning, living, and enjoying these years of school. I pray that no friend, enemy, or boy will be able to change the way they love people and love themselves. I pray that you would lead them and guide them in your way as they prepare to enter into the craziness that is middle and high school. I pray that they will know and believe that they are fearfully and wonderfully made in Your image, that You made them exactly the way You would have them to be, and that no one can measure how “enough” they are but You. I pray that they will have wise counsel and godly friends surrounding them and comforting them through out this school year. I pray that these sweet young ladies would be so grounded in who they are that they will inspire other women and girls to do the same thing. I pray that this school year will be productive and so full of joy, love, and peace. I pray against any attacks of the enemy that would try to hinder this year! I pray these things in your precious name, Jesus. Amen!
As always love God, love people, and be sure to love on some middle school and high school aged girls as they prepare to attend school! They need it just like any other girl did at that age!
If you have any questions about my walk with Christ, my blogs, or my life, feel free to email me at “firstname.lastname@example.org”! Follow me on social media to keep up with my blog through that avenue! Insta: _sincerelyimani and Facebook: Sincerely Imani 🙂