NaturallyCurly Operations Specialist endured years of self-loathing from a childhood of not fitting in. Here, she shares how she learned to welcome her doubts with open arms.

My favorite part of myself?

My willingness to be honest and vulnerable, which is something I started doing a couple of years ago. It makes all relationships more rewarding. Also, I think my hair is pretty tight, even though it has a mind of its own, so I'm never quite sure how it'll behave on any given day. 

I prioritize comfort over everything and I wear a lot of black. In terms of colors and number of pieces I own, I like to keep everything very minimalistic. It's also easier to repeat clothes when you mostly wear neutrals, and I wear the same shirt or dress like three times a week. That's an exaggeration, but only barely.

Growing up, I was ridden with many insecurities.

I'm sure a lot of it stemmed from being bombarded with media messaging that made me believe there was only one type of beautiful. One I was the opposite of, in every way--skin, body, hair, and attitude. I distinctly remember being about 6 years old staring into the mirror while aggressively flattening my hair down with my arms and thinking "I would be so much prettier if my hair was softer and straighter."

I think that most children experience bullying of sorts, including the bullies themselves.

I also had a plethora of options for bullies to choose from, ranging from my thick glasses, to the way I spoke, and beyond. In some ways, I'm still reconciling that experience in my adult life.

I think that most children experience bullying of sorts, including the bullies themselves. In some ways, I'm still reconciling that experience in my adult life. 
B.B. Araya

Eventually, I ran out of options except to love and embrace everything that is me.

I simply could no longer bear the weight of self-hate. I genuinely agree with Lucille Ball when she says, "You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world." Even though it might be easier to self-loathe, it takes a lot more energy; energy that can be used to create things, spread love, or even protest (in whatever form that takes for you). Self-love is a daily journey. Some days are harder than others, but as long as I know that I'm putting forth an active and conscious effort to be good to myself, then I can breathe easily.

I think we are at a time where marginalized people are aggressively fighting for our space, whether it be in the beauty industry, media, or elsewhere.

I think gatekeepers are taking note and implementing change because they know that we are viable consumers. The internet, where there are no gatekeepers, seems to be the most progressive in terms of portrayal of women. We still have a long journey ahead of us, but I definitely think we're moving in the right direction.

There is a direct correlation between my relationship with myself and my relationship with my loved ones.
B.B. Araya

Self-love and self-acceptance affect communication and ability to connect.

They make interpersonal relationships a lot smoother and a lot more positive. I like to explore self-relation through filmmaking, so it plays a role in my creativity as well. As far as self-confidence, it's a process I am still figuring out each day, but I can say that it starts from deep within. You must be willing to go on a (sometimes uncomfortable) journey inward and be very honest with yourself about what's going on in there. Growing older has helped. Being surrounded by good hearted people has helped. Therapy has helped--with everything, honestly. Absorbing and creating different forms of art has helped. It's a combination of so many big and small things.

I think that working on yourself is also a service to the world.

When anyone becomes more compassionate, aware, and accepting, the world becomes an easier place to move through. If you are carrying good energy, you're spreading it. That's power.

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

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

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Photos by @Monique_Rdz

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