NaturallyCurly Social Media Manager Leslie hasn't always been this secure in her features. Here, she discusses how she started seeing them as gifts and not burdens.

My favorite part of myself?

I love my fighting spirit. In my short life, I've had major curve balls thrown at me, but I am grateful for the strong women who taught me how to persevere and never back down. I also love my bushy eyebrows.

I know this is a common answer, but I really just dress the way I feel that day. Sometimes I feel like dressing like a Latinx disco diva and other days I just want to wear comfy tee’s and jogger pants. Although I grew up in the Rio Grande Valley and was surrounded by Mexicanos, because of mainstream media and TV I always felt second to blonde-haired and blue eyed girls.

My senior year I was bullied because of bad rumors and teenage cheerleading drama--sigh. I lost a lot of friends and had girls threaten to throw eggs at me during our school pep rallies and beat me up after school. I had never experienced bullying to this degree leading up to it so I took it very hard. My principals and cheerleading sponsor also held me to a ridiculous standard throughout all of this. One day they brought me in to ask me to be friends with someone I no longer cared to be friends with, just to keep the harmony. My sponsor told me that I should have stopped other girls from telling her things that forced her to remove a girl from our squad because, “You are a Christian, I expect more from you.” I was getting hit at all angles and was held to this standard no 17 year old should be held to so I retreated. I hung out with the same three people but didn’t trust anyone else. I felt alone, but ended up really finding myself and learning to love myself despite what others thought of me.

The summer leading up to college, I continued to spend a lot of time alone and learned how to focus on loving myself, whether I was receiving love from anyone else or not.

I started doing yoga at a local community center, hung out at the beach, thrifted, and started seriously journal writing. I learned not to place value on the thoughts of people who do not care for me or have my best intentions. Loving my outer appearance took more work and time, but now whenever I look in the mirror, I see the brown eyes I got from my grandma, the thick brows I got from my momma, my beautiful brown skin, my stretch marks, my dad's dimples... I see and love all the things that make me unique, and seeing the people I love most reflected back at me.

I see and love all the things that make me unique, and seeing the people I love most reflected back at me.
Leslie Lozano

There are a lot of subcultures and small communities that beautifully embrace self-identifying women.

But the thing is, you have to go out and find them because mainstream media hasn’t come far enough. Though we have progressed and now have a plus size model once a year on a cover, it’s still one type of plus size, and not as inclusive as we should be. We do not have to be told that our body type, race, and gender are seen as second or are not a priority. If you do not see yourself reflected in the images that are being sold to you, it's proof in itself. I can rant all day about mainstream media, but I am thankful for the rest of the internet for creating spaces that we need and have been missing. Now, to just figure out how to silence all those internet trolls that come with online spaces.

I perform better at work, have a better spirit and can love more freely when I’m good to myself.

I am very blessed to be surrounded by so many strong, inspiring, and loving women in my work and personal life, so being around a positive and uplifting communities helps me out a lot.

Every day is different, and some days are more difficult than others, but I am actively trying to be more patient and forgiving of myself. I am a total perfectionist and have been this way since birth, so I am constantly fighting that voice that says, 'it needs to be better.'

I try to give myself the mornings to slowly rise and not check emails immediately when I wake up... a bad habit.

I have been practicing a lot more meditation--I highly suggest downloading the Insight Timer for guided meditation--and taking myself on dates. I value quality time with my friends and family, but have been making it an active effort to spend quality time with myself. This year I’m also making more of an effort to celebrate myself and make sure the people around me celebrate themselves as well.

We are a collection of imperfect people on this planet, but if we each take the time to reflect and care for ourselves, then that is when we can care for those around us. We have to start holding ourselves and our sisters and brothers accountable to care for ourselves and check in when we are not. 

As cliche as it is, it really starts from within.

We are a collection of imperfect people on this planet, but if we each take the time to reflect and care for ourselves, then that is when we can care for those around us. 
Leslie Lozano

How do you cultivate inner confidence through your 'imperfections'?

We'd love to know. Tell us on Facebook and share your experience below.

Follow Leslie on Instagram @lesliellozano

photos by @monique_rdz

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