Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How Can I Mess Up Your Self-Esteem?

"How the eff i'm gon' eff up how you feel about you?! --
It's called self-esteem, it's esteem of yo' effing self!"
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of sitting down with a friend of mine who told me something about my post last week. She could see that it was having an effect on me and she wanted to give me some words of encouragement. I didn’t really want to talk about it because it’s just a sore spot and most people don’t seem to get it, even after I explain it to them. They keep going back to, “But you said you have a preference and that’s really not that big of a deal.” Meanwhile, I’m like, “I didn’t say that, but whatever.” Over the weekend I thought, “You know, I look at the friends I have and most of them went to the same school as me. Does that mean I have a Cuse preference? Or does that mean, that I looked at the friends I have and assessed that the majority of them went to Cuse?” I digress. She said this to me:

“Jay what you have to understand is that those girls do not have a problem with you, they have a problem with their selves. You can’t let that affect you, or weigh you down, there’s nothing that you can do to make them feel better about them.”

You had to hear her say it too, she made it sound so sexy too. She said some other things, but that was the best part. It really summed up our conversation about that article. Now another friend as I mentioned on Tunde’s blog the other day, said, and pardon the ignorance of this statement, “You can’t do nothing about bitches with no self-esteem.” As soon as he said that, I immediately had the idea to finally write this post. It really came down to this for me:

I found it funny that these girls were trying to tell
women how to feel "pretty" they probably never had
a single problem.
1) No one can make you look at yourself in the mirror and feel pretty, if you don’t

I used to end each of my blog posts and radio interviews with, “When you wake up, go look in your mirror and tell yourself, you’re beautiful. If you don’t tell yourself that everyday, you can’t expect anyone else to.” That was something that people probably thought I was just saying, but I really believe that. Do you know why there are so many women who tweet photos of themselves in the mirror everyday? Because they see themselves in that mirror and they say, “Damn I look good.” I’ll be honest with you, not every twitpic that I see is of an attractive young lady, but you know what counts? They think they’re beautiful. Your daddy and your husband will tell you that you’re beautiful every time you ask, but those men are supposed to tell you that, that’s their job in life. But if you’re waiting on society to validate your beauty, then you’ve forgot that no one should have to tell you something that you already know. I wonder all the time when I’m out on the town why some women wear outfits that are unbecoming. I don’t think high waisted skirts look good on short and skinny women, but that doesn’t mean anything. I got the answer to why women wear outfits that are unbecoming, it’s simple; because they don’t think about that, they think their ass is the flyest in the club.

2) It shouldn’t take you long to realize that just because you’re not a supermodel or video vixen, you’ll be just fine in life

Growing up my mother always bought my shoes a half-size bigger than my foot so that I could grow into them. Then one year I went to school and I got my shoe measured and it was the same size as last year. It was here that I came to realization that I probably wasn’t going to be tall. I still tried and rock out with a half-size bigger, but after a few months of that annoying fold in the front of my shoe. I went to Foot Locker and dropped down to my real size and got some shoes that fit me exactly. And I’ve been wearing the same size shoe since then. It took me four months to get over the fact that there was absolutely no chance that I’d be one of those tall guys, so I decided to just be the best I could be at my height.

You should Youtube this at least once a week until
you really start to get it.
Growing up, I looked at guys who all the girls were attracted and I thought to myself, “Why wasn’t I born with light eyes or ‘good hair’?” And after staring in the mirror trying to tell myself that my eyes were brown instead of dark brown, I decided that it didn’t matter, wasn’t going to stop me from trying to date the woman of my dreams. I looked around at dumb ass noodles in high school who begged their mom for colored contacts for Christmas and I thought to myself, “Those fools have no idea how dumb they look. Your eyes ain’t turquoise and neither are Lil’ Kim’s.” Even now, I know that I don’t look like Idris Elba, Boris Kodjoe or Michael Eady, there’s nothing I can do about the fact that I look better than all of them. #seewhatididthere.

I don’t even like this guy all that much, but I can tell he has high self-esteem; Lebron James. That guy has no intentions of looking into a Rogaine prescription; he looked in the mirror one day, while biting his nails and said, “Damn my hairline going back quick as shit.” Then he proceeded to acknowledge that he was f*cking rich and that wasn’t going to stop him from winning a championship or having sex with as many women as he pleased. Him and his early hair loss was just fine.

3) There’s always something to bitch about, but it takes an adult to move on, or start a revolution

Sophia started her sentence saying, “All my life I had to fight” and the only people who heard the rest of that quote was the women in the audience. No one really cares about your story and why you feel like you’ve been hurt or had to go through a lot to get here today. They care about what you did despite your messed up circumstance. This might sound insensitive but you can tell the world that your whole life people always tried to holla at your older sister because she was light skin and had “good hair,” and no one gives a shit.

Robin had presence. Halle just was a cute face.
Listen to me, in real life, Lisa McDowell might have gotten the Prince, but Patrice didn’t let that stop her. She carved out some space, put some makeup on, and went and got hers too. And in real life, the Prince would have smashed Patrice off first anyway. Those fairy tales endings only happen in movies. If you don’t believe that ask most of the men you know about Gina and Pam. Yeah, people loved them some Gina, but on the low, a few good men would always say, “But Pam had ass for days, I would have probably got at her.” There’s countless examples of this even in Boomerang, Halle Berry was light skin and pretty as hell, but if you asked most men they would say, ”That shit was unrealistic, I would have got at Robin Givens.” Robin Givens had her molars removed by Mike Tyson in the 7th grade and she has a forehead the size of Cowboys Stadium, she didn’t let that affect her and she went on to be one of the most attractive women in Hollywood. And if you can’t move on then you’ve got to do something about your situation. You think Jennifer Hudson sat around on that set thinking, “Damn this bitch Beyonce is stealing the spotlight, nobody is checking for my ass.”? Nope, she Spartan’ed up and killed the performance and showed you the true meaning of, “And you… and you… and you… you’re going to love me!!!”

Low point for the man Ye.
4) Stop taking everything as a personal attack (Bear with me, this is important)

Look I can’t tell you that I don’t get offended and defensive when someone personally attacks me. That’s natural. If you say my writing is wack, I’m going to say you’re wack for saying that shit. That’s fine, fair exchange is no robbery. However, if someone tells me that they like dating guys over 6 feet. I do not steal the mic and start complaining. I always low-key judge men who say weak statements like, “We all the same height in bed.” What does that mean? Her statement ain’t have nothing to do with you. I think we need a strict No Country For Stealing the Mic. There’s only one Kanye in this world, and he’s the only one who could get away with some hoe shit like storming the stage when he was upset about the outcome. However, I think women take the cake here. I’ve seen a blog post about football and how women shouldn’t talk so much in between commercial breaks turn into a discussion on how she found out her husband was cheating on her because he was always watching football with his “boys.” Nobody cares about that, it wasn’t about you.

If I make a post about Latinas, then I make a post about Latinas. Don’t get on there and talk about, “Another brother with an issue with women who look like his mother.” Look my dad was born with blonde hair and blue eyes, so when you think about it, my mother is darker than me for me to end up being this brown. My mother has had natural hair since I was in the 5th grade, and she’s had locks for most of those years. My mother is one of the most beautiful women on the planet. People rarely even believe she has a son my age, and I appreciate the fact that I’ve got those genes, I still get told that I look like I could be in college. (Never mind the fact that I have on skinny jeans and Vans and I’m going to the club.) The point is, I know who my mother is and I know she is beautiful, I don’t have any issue with that. I told my dad I needed a ride to the movies to take my girl out in middle school, he asked who she was, I said, “It’s Gabby from school.” He said, “That little white girl? I hope she’s not wack.” He didn’t go off on me about not dating a Black girl. I had done that already, and I would do it again later. He wasn’t tripping, he didn’t feel any type of way about it. All I’m saying is, the post wasn’t about dark skinned women, it wasn’t about African-American women, it wasn’t about societal norms or how everybody wants to be Europeans, it was about Latinas. That’s what it was about.

Last story about mic grabbing, in New York they have this program called HEOP and that allows kids from lower income families to go to school for free. At graduation they always have a reception for them, I’m sitting there watching all these kids get their certificate and this girl sitting at my table start a rant about how her mother makes too much money and she had to pay full price, but they’re not rich and she had to struggle. I looked at her and said, shut the hell up, this is not your part of the show. Show some respect for these people.

You would too. You would too.
5) If you let other people determine how you feel about yourself, you’ll always feel like a piece of shit

“They said I couldn't play football I was too small. They say I couldn't play basketball I wasn't tall. They say I couldn't play baseball at all. And now everyday of my life I ball.” – Dwayne Michael Carter. If you let the media tell you, Lil Wayne would think that he was a gay midget Martian. But he shook that off a long time ago and then he even went back to joke about it, “Damn right I kiss my daddy” and “I am not a human being, I am a Martian.” I was listening to the Donnie Simpson show one morning in DC and one of the hosts said, “He kissed Baby” and the other guy responded, “But he kissed Lauren too!” And that sealed the deal for a lot of people listening. His grandmother called him, Tune, because she said his voice sounded funny and he was always singing. He took that and turned it into a multi-millionaire dollar marketing ploy. He went to jail and Tunechi dropped an album and it went platinum. This should show you something about each and every one of us. We all have the power to feel good about ourselves even when the world tries to make us feel bad. I was really feeling this chick one time and she said to me, “I just feel like I would break your little ass.” You know what I did? I said, "Eff you, I’m bringing skinny back.” I wasn’t going to let someone else make me feel inadequate in anyway.

Everytime I get a comment or an email, yes I get hate mail, that starts off with, “People like you are the reason why women …” whatever else they say I rarely pay attention, I immediately think to myself, how in the hell can I do that? How can I change the way you feel about yourself? Does another person really have the power to determine how you feel about yourself? Damn that’s rough. I don’t think anyone should have that problem. You have to learn to define yourself for yourself. Lot of these articles, the TV we watch and even the music we listen to will have you bamboozled if you don’t first determine who you want to be and then be happy with the person you become.

Still my favorite picture ever.


Lenore said...

I'm still laughing at the LeBron James comment. He always tries to position his headband just "so" hoping that no one will realize his hairline is just non existant!

I have to agree with everything that you wrote in this post, this was a very good write and should speak to women everywhere. Get yo shit together and don't let other people define your beauty! With that said, the advice has been given, and should be taken quite clearly.

La said...

As usual, I read your post last week, and as usual stayed out of the comments because I knew not everyone was gonna get it. I think alot of people, especially on blogs, bring their own baggage to every discussion, so sometimes it's impossible to get them to see anything other than the issues they carried in.

But everything you wrote in this post is true. There should be nothing about your perceived "preferences" that should make somebody feel bad about themselves. And if it happens, it has nothing to do with you.

Anonymous said...

"I still tried and rock out with a half-size bigger, but after a few months of that annoying fold in the front of my shoe."


Why am I picturing you walking and tripping over your own two feet. *smhl*

Enjoyed reading this post. Had no idea you're still catching backlash from last week's post on SBM.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this follow up post, it means alot.
Bottom line--you must feel good about yourself, we all have our bad days...this post was a booster for me (those are necessary every now & then)
I instill this into my son & niece everyday. They know that they are a handsome prince & beautiful princess. :-) Hopefully they will carry it into adulthood.

Shouts to HEOP!!! (I was a proud recipient) Lol.

Dee said...

Commentary is just that, someone else's thoughts. Nothing more.

You're a great write Jax. That's the only thing that matters. Keep on brother..

Krystllyght said...

I get what you're saying here and I love it. How do you find balance though? I mean, how do you have high self esteem without coming across as vain? Doesn't knowing what other folk think about you help keep you from gassing yourself up too much?

Dr. J said...

Krystl -- One time my cousin wrote an article about why she loves her body. The joint was like 5,000 words, took me like a half hour to read. I was like, "Yo you feeling yourself right now." She hit me back like, "No I love myself all the time." Some people mistake self-esteem with vanity because they don't have it in themselves. Or at least that's what I think.

Krystllyght said...

I guess the way I was raised was just weird. It was okay to talk about being smart (which I was always hesitant to do) but calling myself cute or pretty would've been frowned upon. That was the type of thing I let other people say about me but never said it myself for fear of coming across the wrong way. Does your cousin have a blog? I'd love to read what she said.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dr. J, your post is really on time for me. I recently dealt with a similar situation when an ex moved overseas. He got sprung on those European/Caucasian girls and said he's not sure if he could ever go back to black. At first I was a bit salty but then I realized he is entitled to whatever opinion and or preference that he so chooses. I will not be morphing into a European woman anytime soon, so all I can do is be the most banginest black chick I can be. And trust that I most certainly am someone's preference!

Adonis said...

Dr. J thanks for writing this article, so I could be graced with @La's facial beauty... #WhatADifferenceACommentMakes I was definitely blessed this morning

That being said, as a writer & human being I need to be desensitized to how people feel about my opinions... #OffThat

Alot of women are not there in their evolution where they can hear men speak clearly & honestly about how they feel without needing to roast a Negro...

But as long as they not lynching nocody, I am a be "Petey Greene" up in this bitch

Dr. J said...

My cousin's blog is here:

Ashley A.F said...

This was such an admirable post. My whole life I've always thought I was very beautiful. After reading this, I realize that my self-perception may not even have anything to do with my actual features. Could it be that I'm not actually beautiful, but just love myself too much to think that I'm not? Regardless, you can't tell me nothing :p. We all have too many external troubles to add on to the list the ones that only exist in our minds. Self-love and self-acceptance are thought to be clich├ęs, but they are so imperative for our peace of mind in this life. God bless you for this post, sir!

Lola said...

One of the best posts you've ever written.

Bellpepper91 said...

I rarely comment on posts. But this is such great post it would be a crime for me not to give you your props.

Anonymous said...

Great post!!

Zeezaleez said...

I really like your writing. It's funny, insightful follows a clear path. That last part is sorely lacking on so many blogs. Looking forward to reading more from you going forward.