The Girl He Left Behind

By: Alexis Ditaway

“I dealt in the deficits for years until I learned to love the girl he left behind.”

I heard this quote in the spoken word piece “Crushes Suck and Everybody Knows It”, performed by Dominique Christina, and immediately paused the video. This one sentence had summed up so many years of my life, and how I had attempted to form myself into the girl that men accepted, rather than accepting the girl that I was naturally.

I felt that I was looked over and passed by because I lacked features of black girls that were favored. At the time, I was short and stocky, with no true “wow” factor that I felt made me attractive or made me beautiful. I doubted myself for years and was convinced that I need to work harder to be better than who I was.

I took so much time trying to be whatever I thought a “beautiful black girl” was. If it was thick and curvy, I was squatting every day. If it was slim thick, I would diet like a madman. If “long hair, don’t care” was the main idea, I put inches in quicker than anyone. For years I was constantly chasing after this dream of black girl perfection, convinced that whatever it was, I wasn’t it.

Until one day, I realized that there is NO such thing as “perfect” black girl. There is no “standard” of beauty, because we break standards. Black beauty is so diverse yet equal that to try to match one specific type is only short changing your true uniqueness. Your beauty is YOUR beauty. Own it. Embrace it. Claim it as your own.

Loving yourself, for yourself is one of the best things that you can do. This concept was completely ignored by me until I looked in the mirror and really saw who I was, and not who I tried so hard to me. I WAS beautiful. I WAS attractive.

I WAS worthy of being loved, and if no one else would do it, then I was more than capable of doing it my damn self! Loving the person in the mirror in front of me rather than wishing I was a different person in another mirror gave me a peace that no one could replicate. The beauty we all possess is just as worthy as the beauty of the person next to us. Beauty is in all of us; its up to us to love it, no matter who decides not to.

Learning to love yourself for your own personal beauty breaks down doors that can lead to endless possibilities. You are your best lover and your most fulfilling provider. The love you gain for yourself is unconditional, and better than almost any other love you can experience. Love yourself, for yourself. No matter who, or what, may leave you behind.

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