I Am Perfect Exactly As I Am By: Shelby D. White
Have you ever noticed those girls who are just pretentious? Those girls who go to school, parties and even church with the obligation to impress everyone who lays eyes on them? They look at everyone with an air of self-confidence; but when they are alone, reality hits them. They aren’t as glamorous and popular as they come off. These girls never think once about just being content with themselves. In my heart, I feel pain for what they go through. The pressure to look and act a certain way can be stressful, tiring, and heartbreaking. I know how it feels to put on a show for people but come home unsatisfied because I, too, was a pretender. I started my pre-school through 1st grade at a predominantly white school and my parents were concerned that I develop a good self-image, so I was switched to a predominantly African-American charter school for the next seven years. However, even with all the uplifting conversations and black history month’s projects and programs, I still didn’t feel as if I was anything special. The often praised light-skinned girls with the long hair and multicolored eyes were given all the encouragement and thought of as intelligent while those of us who were dark skinned with kinky hair stood back, watched and waited for accolades that never came. I hated my skin, my hair, my teeth and my mind. I hated me. Three years ago, I started my high school career at a predominately white school. I was determined to project a new image. During this time, God brought me certain people such as Myra Wallace, author of Beauty Come Forth, and Karicean Michelle, celebrity stylist, to make a change within me. Although I have known them since I was three (3) years old, I was never as impacted by their Godly counsel until I entered high school. These women taught me about confidence and appreciating who God made me to be. Although my parents taught me the same thing, it just felt different coming from them. These were people who others looked to for beauty tips. However, from them I heard the same thing that I had heard from my parents, which was that God made me in His image and that inner beauty should be what makes me beautiful, not what I pretended to be on the outside. The Bible says that you are supposed to be comfortable in your own skin. In fact, Psalms 139:14-15 says, “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works and that my soul knows very well” (NIV). Now that I am a senior in high school, I look back at all the years where I’d acted foolishly, and just laugh. It’s funny how pretentious I used to be. For me to think that I wasn’t pretty or wasn’t special in any way baffles me because I now know who I am, what I’m capable of, and who I came from, which all leads back to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. God’s word is ultimately the one that counts in my life. He didn’t pretend to be almighty God, He just is. I am no longer pretending to be Shelby White and I know that I am perfect exactly as I am.