No matter where you start, you can always finish on top

I never envisioned myself as the quintessential “pretty girl.” Growing up in a school system where many teachers often turned a blind eye to things such as bullying and harassment, I had decided at the tender age of 12 years-old that I, was not in fact, “cute”. I’d constantly evaluate why I was the person of torment from bullies, why kids couldn’t find anything better to do than to pick on other kids—particularly me. Ultimately, it created an emptiness inside of me, hoping and praying that someday, I could assert myself as the “pretty” girl.

As I sit in my room today, looking out at the train tracks that hover over my new home in Brooklyn I remember, how I used to dream of the moment when I could move to New York. Now, I’m working in fashion I constantly remind myself how vital it is to nurture our young women when they are young. Had I allowed myself to continuously put myself down by the words of other kids, I would have never pushed myself to walk in my calling and explore all that God had for me.

I have a wonderful mother—the enviable kind that you appreciate as a child and then you appreciate even more as an adult. Always depositing words of affirmation into me, she couldn’t understand why I’d look in the mirror and find every personal thing about myself as vile instead of beautiful. I think back to those times when I would pray and ask God to make me look like someone else: to fix my skin, my shape, my nose, my hair, and so much more. I recall being a woman growing into herself, not realizing that rejecting herself meant she couldn’t live her best life.

Every woman needs not only a woman who supports her (in my case, my mom), but a group of women who empower and stir you up, starting from the inside out. Once I got an assembly of #girlbosses on my team, the strength and fire within myself grew to understand that I had a purpose on this earth. I was not wasted space. I was a beautiful woman inside and out, and that no person on this Earth had the potential to steal my God-given joy. While having friends is wonderful (and many times we simply grow out of teenage angst), there is something magical about women coming together, eager to help each other with no ulterior motive. It has the potential to shake you to the core in ways that appear only divinely.

Easier said than done, I understand. But tapping into your potential of beauty, and understanding that you were not made in vain nor mistake, is the first step in reaching your highest potential. Once you open that door and walk through it, the next goal is sticking your hand back out and pulling the next woman through. We’re all beautiful and blossom in our own time, much like a flower that will show its beauty when it is ready.

No matter where you started, realize that you can change your life today to immerse positive thinking, positive affirmations, and notions of self-love into your life. Trust me, you’ll be thankful that you did.

Jame’ Jackson is a freelance fashion writer based in New York City. She has a passion for fashion, beauty, and speaking to women about honing in and releasing their black girl magic. She can be found spreading love on Instagram @theblondemisfit and her site, Theblondemisfit.com.