I have never received a free ANYTHING from any non-family member man unless my friends got it for me. No one has ever stopped my entire friend group to talk to me, and I have never been asked to dance out anywhere at all, alone or otherwise. My face isn't memorable or show-stopping, and I learned very early on to be OK with that. But everyone in my doesn't quite get it.
I have been cute my entire life. And that's not me being conceited, it's just the truth. Even before I received braces to correct my buck teeth, I had extremely deep dimples and a vibrant smile and it just made me look woodland-creature level adorable. Even after the braces and growing boobs as fast as one could make pasta, I was still "Cute." Now don't get me wrong, being adorable has afforded me a few prospects in my 21 years of life. Men and women seem to be slightly into the whole babyfaced adult thing, so I can't really complain—but I do anyway.
I realized I was cute and not really outwardly "conventionally" sexually attractive when I was about 12. Very young, I guess, but puberty is when we start to try and make romantic connections with our peers and I wasn't making much of any. I had grown boobs and started to get hips and I was still just cute. I was always the female best friend to the boys and the girls just wanted to know if I was following some sort of double D diet. When I was younger, I found myself overcompensating for my lack of sex appeal by having a crush on nearly anyone who gave me a little bit of attention and I don't think I stopped doing that until ... if I'm being honest, there was only a three and a half year period where I didn't do it, and that's because I was in a relationship. Now that I'm single and in my 20s though, I feel like I have to check that behavior. I find myself at parties being damn near invisible no matter how fly I look and have to stop myself from feeling bitter about it. Doing anything with my closest female friends is like a walking reality check. We could be stopped by men and women alike 15 times in an hour with comments like "You're gorgeous" and "Oh my god you're so beautiful. Can I take you out some time?" and none of those comments would be for me. Good thing I've never been a hater or I would've lost all of my friends long ago.
Am I saying no one has ever seen me as sexy ever in my life? No. And if you've been reading and getting a bitter tone, I'm sorry. I have been bitter about it in the past, but I've since gotten over it. I started to become a social butterfly, which was a complete 180 from the type of child I was. I decided that if I wasn't smoking hot, or a very well put together girly girl, I'd be the girl who was herself in everything she did. I was as good a friend as I could be, I cared about peoples' interest no matter how boring I thought they were, I smiled and laughed and enjoyed my life fully, and I faked confidence in everything I did until one day I found myself feeling truly confident MOST of the time. By the time I was 17, I had developed my own sense of allure. And it worked very well.
And then I got in a relationship for three years, got out of it and looked around and felt small all over again. With the Instagram "build-a-body" trend, the makeup gurus, fitness gurus, video vixens, models, natural hair gurus, dark-skinned African goddesses, and just your all around racial ambiguous girls, there seems to be no space for your average black girl with a tiny booty, average brown skin, average body shape, and natural hair that's nice but not quite noteworthy. I can barely apply eyeliner and these women have found a way to use whatever God gave them or they paid for (no judgment) to make craploads of money, find the spouse of their dreams, and gain popularity. And I'm just existing.
I allowed myself to feel small and not important for about two weeks. Because, excuse my language, fuck that. I had spent over two decades building my confidence, loving my own company, finding my own sense of sexy, and I'm sure those women had too. Despite feeling like I would never be the girl of anyone's dreams, or the supermodel on any cover, or any other cliché beautiful girl trope, I was me. And I had worked extremely hard cultivating me. Remembering and holding onto who I am. The daughter of a woman who exudes sexy in everything she does. The granddaughter of a woman who was eclectic, show-stopping, and electrifying no matter the circumstances. So if cute is what I am, then cute is what I'll be. But I refuse to let everyone else decide how I feel about the woman I worked too hard to become. As average as I may appear, I am just as show-stopping, electrifying, and sexy as the women who came before me. And I owe it to little me to love myself fully.