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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: Unpretty




Every time I listen to a motivational speech about beauty and body image optimism, I am filled with rising anxiety. Somewhere in the speech is the call to simply believe that you are beautiful – irrespective of what you’re seeing in the mirror. Right there in the midst of plenty words about being what you think you are, is the vacancy of ‘the how.’
How do I magically transform from this person who has lived with all my flaws staring back at me, into someone who is just perfect? This advice is one of those things that is easier said than done.

With every pep talk about how I need to rise beyond the superficial, and seek the inner beauty, my soul rebels. As much as I understand that motivational speakers are selling the Feel Good juice, bottled up and nicely packaged, it doesn’t come with a user manual.

We like to brush it off as vanity, but the truth is that every woman wants to be told they’re beautiful. Every man wants to feel like women get weak at the knees when he passes by. It is that feeling of having someone do a double-take when you pass by. Nothing stings deeper than being the one nobody approaches amongst a group of friends. There’s a trio of friends sitting at the bar and you just know that the two men coming with confident strides and bright eyes are heading for your two besties. Just turn around and order a shot for one because they will look through you.

One reason why I ended up being incredibly reticent and self-conscious was because I was always overlooked. It was as if I didn’t exist. In a group of three girl friends, I was the one who sat quietly and provided introspect every time my friends had love-stories to swap. I was the smart one, never the one with stories of heartbreak. Nobody even wanted my teenage heart to play with at all. It didn’t get broken, still it hurt.

A lot.

So I grew up and decided to hone my other skills. I became content with being a ‘good friend’ to guys. I was the one who was good with words, so I’d help my guy friends construct letters for the objects of their interest. I was the girlfriend who “didn’t get” what it was to be in love so I was a safe repository of hours and hours of men woes. The silent, never judging, listening ear. The honorary wing woman.

It is for this reason, that I jumped into my first wrong relationship. Gratitude. Hallelujah… someone noticed me enough to want to talk to me like that? Many years later, I realised that smartness takes a back seat when you just want to be told you’re pretty. The knowledge of what was happening in Baghdad wasn’t going to get me kisses and leave me doe-eyed. It was all about looks and I needed someone to pick me off the shelf.

Dating the first man who didn’t look at me like a Maltex bottle on legs crushed me further when he left me for another friend. My self esteem went to shreds. I had a list of all the things I wanted to be: Light skinned. Tall. Slim. It was not enough to know current affairs and big words.

Atoke CheeriosGrowing up in a Nigerian household, there was no mention of self affirmation with regards looks. There is very little emphasis on helping you build your self-confidence. Read your books. Pass in school. Know how to cook. Be able to provide for a woman (for men). It is only when you get out there – to the real world – that you realise that beauty (packaging) is what gets you sold. How is anybody going to know you’re such an amazing person when you feel like you’re Frodo Baggins?

Do you know what it feels like to NEVER be told you’re hot? By anybody? Let’s drop the veil of Feel Good for a minute and be real here. It SUCKS! For many years, all I wanted was to be told I was ‘beautiful’ not the consolatory ‘you’re cute sha.’ I wanted someone to look at me and say, “Dang, you’re hot!” I wanted to be pretty like my friends. I didn’t want to be the friend who knew how to navigate Oshodi to Ladipo to Mile 12 to Ketu. I wanted to be told I was pretty and dainty.

Because, the truth is, there are so many perks to being pretty. Let’s list a few:
1. People treat you better at first instance
2. Some people dismiss your bad attitude and discourteousness
3.You’re likely to have the door held for you – literally and figuratively

Humanity, by its very nature is filled with frailties and inadequacies. We need validation – no matter the dose and from whatever corner we can find it. Perfection is finding the right balance of where self assurance starts and the crave for attention stops.

I know that the motivational speakers tell you to feel the inner beauty. Well, it didn’t work for me. It wasn’t until I started to see certain pretty parts of me, and then my friends started saying, “O ma fine, ke” that I started to feel that glow.  Some people are late bloomers (Ugly Duckling | Beautiful Swan) and certain bad people take advantage of this feeling of inadequacy. Can you imagine the pain in the heart of a man whose wife tells him, “You were not the finest man who approached me. If you met me when I was younger, I won’t have looked at you twice.” Tsk Tsk Tsk!

Telling someone who already feels they’re ugly that you’re sure they ‘have a good heart’ isn’t making it better, either. Please give someone a genuine compliment today, I’m sure it will go a long way in helping them. We all want to feel pretty. We all want to be told we’re beautiful.

If you’re a parent, please please tell your children that they’re diamonds. Tell them all the time, so they don’t gratefully hand their hearts over to the first person who lies to them.

Have a great week ahead, and try to make the people around you feel the positive glow of your presence.

Peace, love & cupcakes.

Oh, before I go, the hangout for writers is happening this month! Yay!

Sunday 25th October. 6PM (Greenwich Mean Time) You might have to download the app if you don’t have it. If you wanna be a part of this 30- minute chat about writing, reading and other fun tidbits, please send me an email. (Details in bio)


Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Sam74100

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. Jefka

    October 5, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Atoke good morning.
    I have read so much on discovering inner beauty and how men are supposed to go for inner beauty and not physical beauty and all books that when you are done reading remind you of a chere kiam bia situation..
    My dear, condition critical ohhhhh…….nowadays you cannot be ugly in all ramifications.
    if you no fine for face, better have a toolz hip and butt accompanied with a censored version of cossy’s boobs. if your had no reach there, nne puleeez, just work hard and have money, or have a name that can work wonders.
    the beauitiful ones have been born and are still being delivered to……if a man of 30 years can say that his wife is still in secondary school then you know for sure that this inner beauty thing is nothing but a fairy tale.

    • abiola

      October 5, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      You came in raw with this,Atoke.Thank you.
      I’m a very late bloomer;infact it doesnt look like I’m done yet.At 16 when I got into Uni,I weighed about 75kg.Now I accumulate fat in my face a lot so basically,i was just a m oon on legs.’Friends jokingly’ named me Moonface and suchlike.Even at home,there was no respite;my siblings sang songs for me.
      I’m almost 30 now;and in the last 10years my body has continuously changed;I went from a size 16 to a size 6/8.Im a UK 10 at present.I grew tall,my face lost its pimples,my edges grew out.People call me beautiful all the time but i still dont believe them cos deep down I’m still that 16year old girl people thought it was okay to bully because of her weight.

      But I wont change anything if i had to do it all over again.Bcos being the one always in a corner,intellectually ages you way more than it warps you.You learn to be compassionate,very humble,considerate,kind,sensitive to others,amongst other things.And oh,ther is the added advantage of knowing book…like serious book.
      So here is to the late bloomers, we might have arrived late but we arrived with a little more depth.

      PS: Atoke,you are flipping hot !

    • Co- late bloomer

      October 5, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      I love this…as a fellow late bloomer who is now in full bloom but has still not peaked at 31 and counting (by God’s grace). Now we’re reaping the benefits…while the early bloomers have passed their peak and their “glory days “have become tales by moonlight lol, our best days are still ahead and like fine wine we’re getting more beautiful every day 😉

    • The other Natu

      October 5, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      My favourite Atoke banter.
      This article hits close to home. Not to mention your comment (Abiola) got me so teary eyed.
      I could relate to every single sentence, every single word. Let get my emotions in check; I will be back.

  2. Alem

    October 5, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Beautiful and well written article Atoke. You obviously were the brain in school LOL! However, I have to disagree on some things like guys only notice beauty. I have seen babes that are not physically pretty but exude such confidence that they actually appear beautiful. Also, people have told me I am pretty but I had always suffered from low self esteem and was more of a tomboy that I hardly got suitors myself. Basically, I believe its more of the confidence instilled in you from your parents or those who raised you which would affect how you look at yourself. Being pretty but not getting validation from loved ones who even put you down would bring down your confidence and so also would being not too pretty but given such confidence that would make you feel like the hottest babe.

    • Nikky

      October 5, 2015 at 6:45 pm

      Your point on not being physically pretty but having so much confidence is so true. Look at Idris Elba for example and compare him to Boris Kojo. He is not prettier than Boris but the way he carries himself is super attractive. If a person thinks they don’t look pretty they can definitely feel pretty if they put their mind to it.

  3. Rose

    October 5, 2015 at 9:33 am

    I love you Atoke,nice piece.

  4. Jo!

    October 5, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Wow! Atoke, this was open, this was raw, this was you
    Takes a lot of courage for this kind of openness

  5. Unique

    October 5, 2015 at 9:59 am

    I got your drift atoke, it csn be really hard esp on ladies who are late bloomers, the early bloomers rub it on their fsce and the feelings of being the hearthurt of being the odd ones among your friends csn be heartwrenching.
    One thing i have discovered is that all ladies are beautiful, there is always something in their physical features that stand them out. It can be their eyes legs, toes, lips,voice, brow, nose, eyes, hips, posture, gait, how you walk, boobs, backside or the likes. Its not really about the facial configuration that made a woman pretty. I have a crush that i rank her sweet voice above her physical fesutures, her voice just make me gaga.

    For example I for one doesnt rank average in the physical spectrum of handsome but i have come to accpet that my eyes made me look handsome and i revel in that fact

    Ladies should try to figure out that beautiful part of them and revel in it to boost their confidence and self esteem

  6. Busola Adedire

    Oluwabusola Adedire

    October 5, 2015 at 10:06 am

    This is Honest and Raw… Let me just add that self esteem issues runs deeper than the surface. You will be shocked to know that the prettiest ones are the most insecure. Whichever end of the spectrum you find yourself (i.e. favoured by genes or not), be a decent human being and love yourself. You can’t always count on people to be your cheerleader… Most times, you are your own cheerleader!

    • Alem

      October 5, 2015 at 11:56 am

      My exact sentiments…

    • Gorgeous

      October 5, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      Why make conclusions that you have no idea of, just to make yourself feel better? I am gorgeous and I am the most secure person I know. I walk around with no makeup and get toasters like crazy. If I wear makeup it becomes even worse. So please… I have a healthy dose of confidence. It like saying unattractive people have low self esteem because they are always gossiping and angry at the world for their deficiencies

    • Busola Adedire

      Oluwabusola Adedire

      October 5, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Errhmm.. sorry it rubbed you the wrong way… I haven’t generalised yet. I am a very secure person too but as a human being, I know that it is impossible to be 100 percent confident all the time. Life happens, and there are times you will doubt yourself including your beauty. To be insecure is to be human.. we all deal with it.. just to varying lengths.

    • Tru

      October 5, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      For as long as I can remember, I have been beautiful, yet I get moments when I feel insecure especially when I see folks having a physical attribute I wish I had (e.g. long flowing hair!) Insecurity happens even to the best of us, and even us beautiful ones have ugly days (e.g. AcneAttacksFromHell :D)

    • Petty

      October 5, 2015 at 9:51 pm

      @Gorgeous, your insecurity is showing

    • DEE

      October 6, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      Ironically,your Insecurity just reared its head.

  7. miini

    October 5, 2015 at 10:09 am

    I was a late bloomer so I know what you are talking about. I was the subject of numerous silly boy jokes in secondary school, the one that never got asked out, and like you, the one who fell into the hands of the 1st person that gave her attention
    It wasn’t until after secondary school that I realized that pple were taking a second look at me. Now ehn I’m the kinda woman that men gawk at, have doors held for and have sorries competing if I miss a step. And truthfully, it feels good. I’m not a vain person tho so I get tired of hearing how fine I am coz sometimes it feels like u are just being objectified.
    One thing I have realized tho from looking at women is that beauty is diverse. If u are not facially fine like that, u might have been blessed with a beautiful body, or a classy air around u, or a killer sense of style, or a face that transforms into something else with a little make up. I think women sud learn to accept themselves and work their ‘selling’ points, but in midst of all the physical, let’s not neglect the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Cheers

  8. TA

    October 5, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Thank you darling Atoke! I thought I was alone. All those feel- good speech about love yourself, you are the best blah blah blah, being the real you and not a word on how to be a better you. Me, I never listen to them nor buy all those ‘motivational books’ ever! It is like drinking a bottle of soft drink /soda when you are dying of thirst. Not only is the bottle of soda a temporary reprieve but it will make you thirstier in the long run. I went to secondary school with some mean guys who thought I was ugly. Lol! Thankfully, I had a fabulous family support system but even at that it still stung to not be thought of as cute or pretty. Teenagers can be vicious with their words (I would later learn that most of them were badly insecure and putting others down was their own way of feeling better about themselves) Adults on the other hand are vicious with their actions or inactions. Everyone can use some help in the looks department. NO ONE is born ugly or perfectly beautiful! Some people learn early in life how to be ‘vain’, while others have to be talked,bullied or pressured into it. If someone is genuinely overweight or dresses drably, has body or mouth odor, slouches while walking (like I used to) tell them nicely what to change and HOW to do it! That’s why I love me some Michelle Obama. I once read an interview where she said she knows she had to work on her weight in order to get other things right with her self esteem. No sugar coating. Straight up honesty served hot. We are ALL insecure about something. Overweight? lose weight. It is not easy, but not impossible either. Anyone can have brilliant complexion by drinking tons of water and eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Dress really well. Go online, what is best for your body type? What hairstyle is best for your shape of face? If you cannot afford new clothes,there is always ‘benddown boutique’. Sometimes, I feel dressing tips should be taught in middle school. Dressing and grooming is almost everything when it comes to physical appearances. If you are neat, sharply dressed, walk upright, smell good (yes,save money and buy decent perfumes) and hair well-groomed and looking nice. You might feel your self confidence soar It is not a walk in the park but nobody promised any of us an easy life. Looking good is hard work for some,while effortless for others because of their genes. Whichever divide you fall, be kind with your words. If you see an area you think a friend can improve, instead of teasing or mocking them to their face or behind their backs. Guide them practically. If you don’t know how to, the internet is rife with resources on how to dress and look great. Go shopping with them. Send them those links. If you dress well and look neat and clean, no one will think you unpretty except of course they have ‘mental issues’ LOL as my teenage cousin would say. 🙂

    Have a beautiful week y’all.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      October 5, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      But nne, that call to love one’s self is an “imporrant sumtin” oh… because na to lovingly love yasef be the first commandment so that one “onye beribe” will not come and mislead you with sweet nothings in ya ear. (although, I agree with you that teenagers are the worst criminals for pulling each other down, having grown up to the clarion call of “how come you’re not as beautiful as your sister?”… *side-eyes to all perpetuators of such foolishness”).

      And please, high-five for your “dress-well” part of the above comment. Look, ehn, what dressing well does to your self-confidence… For reals, that singular and well-executed effort will make you walk into a room like the hottest thing around. Someone made a (complimentary) comment to me about something I wore a number of weeks ago and I told her straight-up that please, my goal this year is to be totally feeling myself every single day. No snootiness implied at all but the message I was passing on was that I know I deserve to look good (thanks to the dollops of self love learned and imbibed) and have applied myself to the daily actualization of this personal mantra.

      It may sound vain but ladies (since that’s the sex I’m really speaking to as I have no idea how men traverse this issue of physical beauty), put some effort into what you see in the mirror before you step out. I work with a lot of very casual folk and to be honest, I could probably roll-up in jeans on a Monday-Friday and get away with it but I made a decision that I was always going to take my work demeanour very seriously because I’m a black woman in probably a 97%Caucasian workplace and I’m already working against the grain here. Just like the wallflower in the example that Atoke gave of 3 friends at the bar, I don’t want to blend into the background when associating with snr. management or colleagues or clients who might subconsciously relegate me to a corner because of the physical elements I possess (i.e. the afro hair I rock, the darker skin I possess, the Nigerian accent I speak with, etc.) so I dress in a way that helps me walk into a meeting room like I own the place (who dash me? 🙂 ) and make sure that before we even start speaking, I’ve made a sharp impression that more or less says I’m a serious contender in that environment. Transpose that from the business world to the dating world and the subtext you’re emitting is – “yes oh, I know say I no fine but damn, if I don’t look good, brother!” 😉

      And I’m not calling girls to break the bank with it, before someone accuses me of endorsing runz. Know your body type and style it with what works, understand the colors which make you stand out and most important of all rules, don’t overdo anything. So many subtle ways to up the amp if you feel you’re lacking in any area and bountiful help is available on social media (such as the Pintrest app), whenever in doubt.

      @Miss Atoks. You dug in soul-deep for this one. Very nicely written. *insert thumbs up emoticon as Windows won’t do it for me and air kisses to ya hot petite self*

    • notanutelllalover

      October 5, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      Amen to totally feeling myself all day,err day!!! Sisteh you talk true!

    • notanutelllalover

      October 5, 2015 at 7:04 pm

      You know how a pastor ministers and the congregation is going “mmmhhhh!! mmmhhh!, that is exactly the feeling you are giving me with this your comment.

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian

      October 7, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      I dunno if you would come back to this page. Trust me, I know looks matter a lot. But there comes a point in knowing someone when the luminance of their personality shines through and overshadows their physical attributes.

      The benefit of having a platform like this is that we read comments and streams of consistency gradually build to form an impression of the personality behind them. Simply, we don’t get to judge any one by their looks, but by the content of their character as shown through the written word.

      I’ve learnt a lot from people on this platform. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried. I’ve gotten mad, I’ve quoted comments from here in my conversations, referencing the speaker like an old friend. I’m not naïve enough to think we would all get along like besties if there were to be a meeting of BN’ers. But who wouldn’t enjoy the conversational romp.

      You, my dear stand out. In your truth and in your kindness. I don’t know you in person, but I bet anyone who knows you blesses God for the honor of having you in their lives. I celebrate you.

  9. Nunu

    October 5, 2015 at 10:16 am

    story of my life. Then comes the “You’re an amazing person, 1million yards of wife material BUT…” mscheeeew!

  10. babygiwa

    October 5, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Looooooooooool. Nice article as always.
    Do you know why I laughed, Atoke? Because life is funny, I am fair, slim with curves and fair and pretty, yes, I know i am very hot. Lol. The thing is admiration can be very very tiring. Like really really tiring. Ironic? But very true.
    Ps, we should all strive to highlight our strong beauty points and downplay the not so flattering points. Looking good helps you feel good.

  11. my dad

    October 5, 2015 at 10:21 am

    God bless my sweet sweet dad! hmm that guy made and still makes me feel like a princess hian! I grew up hearing I was so beautiful, I didn’t care what any other person had to say. He didn’t just say it with his mouth he spoke it with his heart. when my mum will say you are too skinny, he would say please don’t force-feed her, she’s perfect. He also taught me how not to rely on my beauty. and while my mum was slaving hours at the bank… he taught my style (how to be unique and elegant no matter are cheap the pieces are), how to walk (yes catwalk my papa get my time) …….. even if my beauty fades away the confidence my father taught me to have will forever remain

    • Slowlybutgradually

      October 5, 2015 at 11:44 am

      I am a new mom and I pray my kids have this and many more beautiful things to say about me. We as parents really need to deposit a lot in our kids emotional banks. As for the article, Atoke, this was deep and raw and I can totally relate although I was looked at as pretty but I had my insecurities which I hid under the guise of tomboy and also had ‘ male friends’. Thanks dear you touched a nerve and I can only hope to help build my kids’ self confidence.

    • abiola

      October 5, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      biko borrow me your daddy.bless him!

    • Koffie

      October 5, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Sounds just like my dad and I had the same issues with mumsy trying to overfeed me cos I was/am skinny. God bless the fathers who make us feel like princesses! I took it for granted till my friends would visit and tell me they wish they had their fathers treat them like mine treats me. For all his flaws as a father, I am extremely glad for the confidence he dashed me. I remember him standing up on my grad day in secondary school and clapping while the school principal called me the school’s treasure (as per book o), papi was clapping on his feet and screaming “that’s my baby girl” to anyone who cared to listen. loool

    • Rose

      October 6, 2015 at 12:45 am

      Kaiii reading this brought tears to my eyes…how I wish I had a dad like DAT….soooo messed up…worst part is DAT I blossomed and people see me and lament beautiful body and face and what not but sometimes the most beautiful are d most insecure. Years of filling insecure…..parents make ur kids feel beautiful….

  12. Adaeze Writes

    October 5, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Wow! I love your way with words Atoke. Yes, I know that there is this ‘need’ by everyone to be called hot or beautiful but I truly beg to differ. Sometimes, it doesn’t mean that being the hottest gets you attention. You’ll be surprised that many light skinned, tall, slender girls are not even getting the right attention. When I say ‘right attention’ I mean, most times, guys walk past a light skinned girl and whistle a compliment but doesn’t approach her. So, the myth of ‘if you are this kind of way or that kind of way’ attracts attention or singles you out in a crowd, doesn’t really work all the time. I guess it’s luck because some girls get it good with guys and relationships while other’s don’t and it doesn’t matter if you’re hot or not!
    I totally agree with you that, parents need to tell their kids how beautiful they are.
    Thanks for the article!

  13. kachi

    October 5, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Very true. Sadly we live in an age where looks appears to be everything and so uniqueness isn’t really celebrated.
    Solution is love you, do you and get grace it will take you where beauty can’t.

  14. A Loco Viva Voce

    October 5, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Beautiful and inspiring piece. People must learn the act of courtesy. Telling a lady she looks nice goes a long way in boosting the confidence level. This I think is a major reason why people are obsessed with Instagram as they feel the need to get that approval and “likes” from the general public. Gives them a great head start.


  15. MyNameIsNotSusan

    October 5, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Atoke, you are beautiful, you are smoking hot, you are pretty, and you are dainty. You, my dear, are really and truly special. Have a lovely week.

  16. whocares

    October 5, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Firstly, chop HUGE e-hug. This just made me realised how much people take for granted. I consider it an insult when a guy tells me how pretty I am as part of his “toasting” game. Hearing the “you are pretty” line has never impressed me. Not even as a naive secondary school student. The other day I was complaining to my friend about how the you are beautifuls is just so generic. “tell me something I don’t know”, I said to her and we both laughed. . I like to believe my upbringing made me confident about my looks but this post here is another way to look at it. It might be that growing up and hearing “fine girl” etc helped that confidence along so much so that you take it for granted when you grow up, pancake your face with mac and scoff at people who call you beautiful. However, here is the thing. I also had my awkward teenage stage. I remember in secondary school some girls made a list of the prettiest girls in my year and yours truly was number 42. EMI 42, OUT OF 70/80 girls. AHH! For the longest time after graduation I used to go to those girls pages to compare our pictures. I left satisfied when I realised that I had grown into a swan and I looked better than some of them. lool.. For all my confidence and talks,the fact that I needed to check that I was now “finer” than those girls says something about the effect people can have on you.
    Now thank gods for maturity. I have learnt to love every part of my body. Even my hair that is forever tangling, and the small bia bia I wax with unholy vengeance; because I can do that, I think it makes it easier for me to see the beauty in people. A person could look dishevelled, but i might notice they have pretty eyelashes nonetheless and compliment them on that. I am that stranger that compliments ladies on the bus. In fact my best friend and I used to comment on people we saw and if they caught us looking we tossed a smile and threw in a you look gorgeous and mentioned whatever the lady had that caught our eye. It could be lipstick or a jacket we loved. At work, if someone has on a pretty dress or different makeup I am usually trusted to notice it, and compliment them. It makes me feel good to compliment people no lies, and I shamelessly fish for compliments when I do something different too. Love yourself first and foremost and somehow you will find it easier to appreciate other people and they in turn will see the beauty in you, and not just that inner beauty crap. It is a vicious cycle the self love transferring to people love, but its worth it.

    • TA

      October 5, 2015 at 11:45 am

      @ whocares, not only you o.Me too. All those mean guys in secondary school who called me all sorts of names to say am ugly. I kept checking too, to see how they turned out and would laugh to see who I was taller than and during Uni there were several instances when they now wanted to start toasting me as in their eyes ‘I was now hot’. But fortunately, my self confidence had peaked so I would simply laugh and brush aside all such attempts.

    • Angela

      November 8, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      Our Stories Are So Similar. The Beauty of it All is the One Thing i’ve Got that Cannot be Taken Away from me Which is My Self Confidence.It is My Selling Point.

    • TA

      October 5, 2015 at 11:50 am

      @ whocares, not only you o.Me too. All those mean guys in secondary school who called me all sorts of names to say am ugly. I kept checking too, to see how they turned out and would laugh to see who I was taller than and during Uni there were several instances when they now wanted to start toasting me as in their eyes ‘I was now hot’. But fortunately, my self confidence had peaked so I would simply laugh and brush aside all such attempts. You are spot on with the assessment that if you have enough self-love, you would easily dish out same to others. I am very generous with genuine compliments. Na me dey first notice who has slender arms, gorgeous eyes beautiful smile, full hair, nice figure,,beautiful skin etc. There is always something physically beautiful about each person if you look at them with kind eyes.

  17. hmm

    October 5, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Atoke, your beautiful.

  18. Hephie Brown

    October 5, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Atoke, youre telling my story! Even though i sat my mother down and let her know how bad she hurt me, it doesn’t remove the pain… That part after Jss3 when you’re home waiting to get into senior secondary? I blew up. i just BLEW! FAT! EVERYWHERE! and my family members didnt help. They called me all sorts of names. It didnt help that i was(still a bit) clumsy and scattered, so my names were “oponku berekete”(this has no valid meaning, it just simply means FAAAT) “elede”(pig), Bush Pig, my wardrobe was called “THE PIG STY”…Imagine when your family members are the ones who crushed your self esteem.. I heard the word FAT and UGLY simultaneously till i got into the university. Yea, i became a tom boy. Yea, imagine the worst..imagine the kind of relationships and friendships i got into. I behaved like a tout cos well, i felt i wasnt no better than one! Imagine the height of validation i searched for. And do you know the annoying part???? IM Facking pretty!! Very very pretty, the kind of pretty that makes friends turn into haters. I didnt know this… Whenever people tell me “she’s just beefing u” i could never imagine what was there to be :beefed” about me.. I lost weight, had anorexia, bla bla..almost successfully committed suicide.

    Do you know the worst part, i wasnt even FAT! I just had lots of boobs and ass..and i later lost it all and became a skinny bonga fish although now im tryna get my figure 8 back..mehn that’s a story for another day..

    I would never allow my children go through what i went through.. I dont blame oyinbo people who take their lives over bullying and self esteem issues. You just feel like life is a beautiful place and ure not part of that beauty.. It took prayers and lots of self help articles and lots of reconstruction to get confidence in life..sigh

    I always, always give compliments..always..and i make sure i mean it.. Make people around you feel good biko! Life sucks already to start feeling like u are part of why it sucks.

    • Word!!

      October 5, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Dear miss Helpie Brown, Your story sounds a little fake and untrue. From people calling You fat to realising it was just your ass and boobs that were full makes it all clear that it’s slightly off the hook. Not everyone has a story on this, You don’t have to force it. And if that’s You on your Avatar, You don’t look as pretty as You think.

    • face your work

      October 5, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      cant u just read and ctrl shift?
      cyber bully everywhere
      if she says shes beautiful, who are u to say contrary
      leave her alone
      face your work

    • Hephie Brown

      October 5, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      Lmaoo really? I’m actually weirdly flattered that my story seems made-up! Poorly told maybe, but definitely not exaggerated one bit! It’s not like your approval or disapproval on the internet makes any difference, im not ne of those u can get to!

      Yea, ure one of the problems this society has..People like you tryna get other people down because of the bitterness and the beauty within you that you can not see

    • Me

      October 5, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Did you have to write all that? Mehnnn! I don’t really know what to say to you right now.

    • Nunu

      October 5, 2015 at 6:35 pm

      Ewu kambia! Lock it up in a barn biko!

    • FasholasLover

      October 5, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      @Word, whatever happened in ur childhood that made you become this evil being??????? Hian

    • i like her

      October 5, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      shut up dear word
      paining u d girl fine pass you?
      i am a guy and i actually like her
      went to stalk her on her blog sef
      for u to know shes a cuttie

      no one has ever appreciated u i guess
      long hiss

    • Dio

      October 5, 2015 at 11:14 pm

      This is uncalled for. For whatever reason if you don’t believe her story, you shold have just moved on. You didn’t have to leave any comment especially one as distasteful as this.

    • Cindy

      October 5, 2015 at 11:52 pm

      @word wtf? I have plenty to say to our type but I’d rather keep mute so I don’t end up sounding as bitter as you ?. Haters everywhere?

  19. Winnie

    October 5, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I read a comment about how being overweight can be a challenge. I was very skinny ehhnn. was eating like crazy so i can gather fat in the right areas, that didnt even work then, food go enter voicemail. Been underweight is also a challenge o. God blessed me with a beautiful face but I needed something extra. By His grace flesh has been added to the right places and nna mehnn now, i get get gawked at when even when I wear bathroom slippers commot. There is no harm in going the mile in looking pretty as long as you not hurting yourself or anyone else.

  20. Some Hard Truth

    October 5, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    I understood every word you wrote in your article. I could relate to the story… As a child, i was made to feel like the ” ugly duckling in the family” i was so skinny and was repeatedly told by my parents how nothing i wore suited me and was always made to give it to my younger sister who was plumpy, healthier unlike me who was sickly to try it on. Funny enough! It always fitted her so perfectly. I always cried my eyes out and ask why God would make me so thin and sickly. Furthermore, in school, i was laughed at because i was told when i walk it seemed like i was going to break into two, my teachers didnt make things easy as well, when they wanted to punish in class, they would look at me and say” if i touch you, youwill just die” and the class would crack up so badly that each time i entered into the classroom all i could remember was the laughter fron the mockery of my teacher. My self confidence and self worth was destroyed without mercy. When i grew to become a teenager, i realised my body refused to mature into purberty, even my yonger sister had gotten to her puberty age, i was still lurking behind. One day, i overhead a teaching on Tv from John Hagee, and he said,” go to the mirror and take a look at your image and say to yourself, i am beautiful , keep saying it to yourself until it becomes a part of you” i kept doing that… I wrote it down , i must say, that message changed me. I said it to myself, i believed in it, i worked on it and today i am a testimony…. “You are beautiful “has suddenly become a sentence that is thrown at me easily.

  21. CB

    October 5, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    I don’t know where I fall in all this…I’ve had extremely good and unbelievably bad years. I’ve shared my gist with yall a couple of times
    I’ll throw this out there to see if anyone has had the same experience. Recently, I’ve had a lot of women compliment my beauty…not small compliment o! the type that embarrasses you the reciever. Like the other day a during a vacation the store owner tipped her souvenirs over just staring at me…..she had to apologize that it was because she had never seen anyone so gorgeous. I’m like ? if you deceive me, I shan’t deceive masef. Even just yesterday I ran into a couple of female colleagues at a conference and for a painfully long minute they went on about how good I look.

    Now that said, the twist to the plot is that apart from previously established male relationships, I can count the number of times a guy has complimented my looks in recent times. I don’t know and don’t care but since we’re sharing vanity experiences I figured I might ask the ‘listeners at home’ ?

  22. Anony

    October 5, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Yet, the ‘ugly’ ones get married every Saturday…’beautiful’ones are kept in loop.
    Anybody can be beautiful these days…clue, cosmetic surgeons keep getting richer daily…..
    Beauty does not cut it anymore…at the end of the day…it’s what ur bringing to the table….(ana ata mma ata).

    • Busola Adedire

      Oluwabusola Adedire

      October 5, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      Beauty without anything ‘extra’ is boring.. If you are fine, there are ‘finer’ babes out there and these days, babes are no longer smiling. Make sure you find what makes you different from the rest.

  23. CB

    October 5, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Now from someone who was naturally the ‘pretty girl’ , it didn’t matter until I saw myself as pretty….I’ve found that what I see is what matters o. And I’m brutally honest with myself… None of that inner beauty BS, I know days when I worwor and days that I look good. I know my side profile isn’t cute and so hate to have love interests ride in the passenger seat while I drive. Meanwhile, while for the first 2 decades of my life I took beauty and it’s vanities for granted, when life happened I realized the meaning of the saying that beauty is only skin deep..literally….Atoke,
    My dear, you’re beautiful oh!forget all that maltex bottle gist…for me I make it happen for myself.
    Which brings me to my main point which I know might be controversial, but when life threw me onto the ‘ugly’ end of the pool, my dear I fought my way out with the help of MAKEUP. Yup, good old makeup… I honed my skills too. There is a certain elegance and confidence that fixing your face projects, number one being that you even put the effort into enhancing your looks. Even years ago, before I had the ‘me medical need to, I noticed a clear difference between days I wore makeup and days I didn’t…. I have however never relied on this mentally, I just KNOW for a fact that if I want doors opened for me and folks to be a little nicer, I pancake my face, and apply limschick…other days when I’m stuck at work, school or in the lab, I just freelance for weeks at a time… I fit no even baff sef ?? i kid, I kid.
    And no, I’m not advocating going around looking like a egungun ilu idanre, I for instance just spent 30mins wearing makeup to look like I don’t have makeup on….the struggle. But it’s worth it in my opinion…a little price to pay for sanity, lol.

  24. sultana

    October 5, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Nice article! For me, growing up, i was extremely shy especially when I started receiving male attention. I just wanted to crawl into a rock. By secondary school, I would wear the largest skirts and tops just to hide my shape, always wear a veil dangling over my head, just to hide my face, would always walk head down just to avoid eye contact, in school I would always wear a cardigan just to hide my body.

    My people, the ish was real! felt too body conscious and not in a good way. I remember a tailor measuring me for school uniform and commenting that I had a great figure. Hourglass and that just explained why those guys were always trying to toast me but I nor gree oh. i felt they wanted to sleep with me and therefore destroy my life 🙂

    However once I got into uni, I became more confident and started dressing better and could now balance the attention.

    I believe balance is key. From home to school. Make your kids confide in you and build their confidence.

  25. Sophie

    October 5, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    This article really touched me. I was that person except I had a banging body so all guys wanted to do was sleep with me. They didn’t care that I was intelligent nor did they want to know me, all they could think about was rocking the figure 8. It affected my self-esteem alot especially because I was plagued with gorgeous and perfect sisters (love them). And then to top it all up I had a weight problem. It was a struggle for a major part of my life and to be honest kinda still is but I just had to learn how to appreciate myself. I learnt how to give myself compliments before being given. I learnt how to love myself, all the love handles, all the stretch marks, the not so flat tummy and everything else that comes with me. Its not something that can be taught, you just have to learn through practice. And ironically, I noticed that the confidence and love for yourself is transmitted to the people you interact with and then you become something different from the norm. After it all you might not be the most beautiful but you’ll be certain of who it is you are so that no dirtbag can just waltz into your life and spout epiphets and you’ll swallow it (happened to me). You’ll just realsie that you too are beautiful most importantly to yourself

  26. Sky

    October 5, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Gosh BN please save my eyes, this new font is killing me! I want to read the article and comments but it’s so difficult. Biko nu nu do something.

  27. arikeagbe

    October 5, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    What makes this article so beautiful is that I would say the same things if I were to speak on this issue. I wasn’t exactly a late bloomer but when I did start to bloom, guys would throw all kinds of dirty comments they thought were compliments my way. Consequently I started to hide my body. Sometimes when someone tells me I look hot in a particular outfit, I stop wearing it because I really hate being objectified. I’ve always been the girl in the group that never gets approached…or maybe I used to be. I guess somewhere along the line I just turned into a tiger and kept everyone at arm’s length. I’m 26 and I’ve never even been on a date because I think I’m being mocked when people compliment me or try to get all chummy with me. The funny thing is, my mother tells me all the time that I’m beautiful but for some reason, part of me thinks she just says it to make me smile. What I realise now is that I’m just afriad to let go of the impression I’ve always had of myself and see myself through different eyes. I don’t mind being the cool smart girl that guys feel comfortable with, but I’d love to stop making friends with only guys that have girlfriends in a bid to protect myself from being hit on. I’ve also learnt that no matter how angry I get, some men are disrespectful and will continue to objectify me…I have to find a way to get over it without my blood boiling. Thank you Atoke for this piece. It has given me a lot to think about.

    • whocares

      October 5, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      ahhh objectifying. That is the other side of the coin isnt it. I remember when I was 12 upwards up till I turned 15/16 I could not wear spaghetti tops without a form of jacket on top of it. Before then I was ok as i was younger and not used to lewd objectifying comments. However I remember in that 12-13 year old age bracket when I went out in shorts or say spaghetti tops I got such pervy statements that made me so self conscious. light skinned, long legs, area boys, pervy old men not a good combination at all. Even the “fine girl, my son will marry you” were not nice either. In fact the first time i travelled without a jacket over my spaghetti top my mom was thanking gods (the heat dealt with me ehn. lool) the implication of that was I wore so much baggy clothes and trousers as I was still conscious about my growing self. The wrong form of compliment is as harmful as the hurtful words.
      @TA: LMAO. I thought it was just me. loool.

  28. MrsA

    October 5, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I don’t know if someone singing praises of how beautiful I was would have helped during my young formative years. However, been bullied for not been a perceived vision of someone’s beautiful albeit hurtful and emotionally damaging has helped form the woman I am today.
    I am beautiful. Very. It’s sometimes embarrassing to watch people unravel at times but I never let it get to my head.
    No one should live a life defined by beauty whether on the short end of not been pretty enough or waltzing through life on only the merit of a beautiful face.
    Life means more than that. Ask Jesus.

  29. missme

    October 5, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    It’s so sad to read about people’s family body shame them. The one thing I remember from as early as four to five years of age (now in my mid twenties) is my mom saying in our native ondo dialect “omo mi i ri re mi and erin re re mi” the best way to interpret that would be “this my child is pleasing to my eyes or this my child is so beautiful and her smile is beautiful”, Maybe because she started telling me early, I believed it. Even when friends at Mayflower called me ugly. I never for once believed them and even now when people tell me “oh, my god, you’re so beautiful” Sometimes in stead of saying “thank you” I smile and say “I know. My mom as been telling me that for as long s I remember: The only thing I know people say to me that I don’t like is people calling me lepa. I find that word derogatory and I’m quick to correct people not to call me that. The bad way some feel when called fat is how I feel when called lepa.
    The greatest learn I however learn from my mom however, will be that your beauty won’t feed. Her famous quote “Ise lase kaa to ma sise” (we work so that we don’t end up poor) rings in my head everyday even now that we live thousands of miles apart.

  30. mee

    October 5, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    i can totally relate with this article…i grew up a confident child even though i was overweight and then university happened,i met this girl,very pretty,she had the prettiest eyes,it was impossible to walk with her on campus and not have at least 20 guys compliments her or her eyes..the way she walked etc..we became very good friends,moved in with me,i never had issues complimenting her but i noticed she hardly told me i looked good…maybe i looked that bad that she couldn’t even fake a compliment lolll anyway all the male guests we had were there to see her,all the guys who ever approached me only did because they wanted her number..all the free drinks we ever got at the club was because she was there,every special treatment i ever got was because “it is because of this your beautiful friend o”………chai na me be this??!! then i became dangerously insecure,i wished i had her looks or even better just to get some attention..a little compliment…she didn’t help either,she would always point out my flaws,she was a nice generous girl but i felt she was feeding off my insecurity….to cut the long story short,i have dealt with severe low self esteem since then,i have turned down jobs because i felt i wasn’t good enough,i married a man i didn’t love because i felt this was my last chance getting any attention,i have refused to start a business that everyone thinks i will do well in,insecurity is a very bad thing,it has cost much more than i ever imagined,i had prospects….i still do…i am working on myself,i am a little depressed but i will be fine…there will always be someone prettier,smarter,with a nicer body,with a better job, etc…i have started to look deep within myself,i know i have something special…i owe it to myself to find it and focus in it above every flaw i think i have…while i think a little compliment here and there helps,if you dont think you are smart or good looking,you wont believe it even if 50 brad pitts tell you either… is well with me and everyone out there struggling with self esteem issues…it is real…but we can overcome…hard but not impossible….

    • JaY

      October 5, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      I wish there was something I could say to make you feel good, really sad at your comment. But like someone said here, there’s something beautiful in everyone, look for that thing. Love yourself and build your self confidence……..”You’re beautiful in every single way, words can’t bring you down”………………..hugs and kisses!!!

    • Mee

      October 5, 2015 at 7:48 pm

      Thank you 🙂

    • DEE

      October 6, 2015 at 6:25 am

      Mee, I can relate to your story. In uni, I also had a very pretty friend who got all the attention and I was so loyal to the friendship that when her admirers insulted me (e.g one called me “Ngozi’, which is meant to be a derogatory name, because in his immature brain, only housemaids bear such name), she never stood up for me and would feel good about being admired while I was insulted. I severed that friendship and never went back as I later realised it was killing my already murdered self-esteem

      My family didn’t help the situation too. I remember my dad telling me he went to Ikoyi club to renew our membership and one of his friends that saw my passport photo asked ‘is that your housemaid? Imagine, my dad came home and told me this story. My mum would call me ‘orobo’, and say “lepa lo laye o! (i.e lepa girls run the world o!). I remember when I drove my mum to an event and her friend accompanied her to the car when she was leaving. What would my mother say? O ri omo mi, bo ti se robo, gbogbo ounje mi lo ma jetan (i.e See how my daughter has become fat, she has finished all my food) and they were both mocking me and her friend was telling me to better become lepa. My family will constantly verbally harass me about my weight. Even when I attempted to exercise, as I was going to the gym and using the treadmill at home often, I would get insulted that I’m just wasting my time. There was a time my folks were discussing how one former political office holder has a very fat child and the woman refused to allow that child walk around her when they went to an event together, and my mum said, if you are fat like that, I won’t even take you anywhere with me.

      My self esteem was at 0.00000%. My pillow was a sea, I would wet it with tears like rain. I was so depressed but no one knew, my fake smile was always plastered on my face. I’m telling you all this so you’ll know how bad I had it.

      After some years, the depression left, my self esteem rose to at least 90%. Looking back now, the following are what helped change it.

      1. I read a book by Dr. Rob Yeung titled Confidence: The Art of getting whatever you want. (it is very practical);
      2. I drew closer to God, He became my crying and rant buddy. (lol) I told him my fears, my worries, my pain, everything.
      3. I then made one request to God which was, “Dear Lord, give me just one friend that I can call a genuine best friend who I’ll grow old with and our friendship will last for years’. At that point, I really needed this sort of friend because I knew many people and had friends but had no one to really talk to and I had a lot inside I had to let out.
      4. Number 3 came to pass. God answered. Someone came along very unexpectedly. He helped me through my depression, changed my negative attitude and mentality, helped with my self esteem and eventually became my husband.
      4. I also went out of my comfort zone by volunteering to take up positions and perform duties that would require a high level of confidence and self esteem.

      I must confess it’s been a journey. I still ‘yimu* when someone tells me you look good or even when my husband says sexy woman or you look beautiful. Ko ti mo mi lara (I’m not used to it), it sounds like arabic to my ears.

      So ‘mee’, get that confidence back, it’s in you. Sorry for my long epistle. Your comment really touched me ni.

    • mee

      October 6, 2015 at 11:27 am

      sooo happy that you had a happy ending,thank you for sharing your story,i’m truly inspired to fight even harder..God bless you…

    • Manny

      October 6, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      My feet grew faster than my body when I was young and my father used to call me “no size in London” or Oshoffa (that Cele people don’t wear shoes because Oshoffa couldn’t find his shoe size in the market). Everyone would laugh hysterically. If I didn’t laugh, my sis would tickle me and say “we are just playing with you”. So just to say that sometimes family member don’t really mean harm. To be fair, in my family, everyone even the parents got teased.
      I used to tuck away my feet and would never wear sandals. In the summer, I would wear clogs. Until the day I randomly clicked on one of those ridiculous articles – this one was “celebrities with big feet”. The rest as they say is history – I wear sandals now and actually get compliments on my feet -I think the fact that my feet were always ensconced in shoes made them permanently fresh 🙂

  31. Priscy

    October 5, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Atoke….this right here is real and raw.
    I love it
    You are beautiful even if I have not met you

  32. Jay

    October 5, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    All my life iv heard people tell me how beautiful i was till it made no meaning to me anymore. I mean i would pass strangers on the street who will stop me just to tell me how pretty i was
    Men Wanted me. Or let me repharse, wanted to sleep with me.
    I dont think im that pretty, I dont even have a figure 8. Matter of factly i have to spend so much on food to even maintain a curve on my butt..But they say there is just something about me that they cant expalin (whatever that means)
    My first and only relationship which is now over is beacuse i finally met a guy who really wanted me even though i wasnt ready to have sex. I thought i would die the day it ended. Till date he is the only guy iv met like that. Im 26 and still single and searching. Beauty isnt everything. Sometimes it feels like a curse. At some point every guy in my life wanted something from me. the girls were too intimidated to wanna be friends. I had people around me but i was soo alone

    Married men act like they cant control themselves around you, guys walk up to you and tell you how they just want to sleep with you. And in my head in thinking “is this all im good for? a side piece, a f**k buddy?” No body cares about how much value i could bring to their lives. Am i not lively and fun enough to want to be with? Am i not good enough to be anybody’s main chick?

    I recently met a guy who i fell head over heels for. He went to the moon and back to win me over. like a fool i fell. He tried to bed me, i refuse cos i felt we hadnt gotten to that stage yet. The way this guy evaporated from my life ehn…………sometimes i just sit and cry because im even tired sef.

    Beyonce knew what she was saying when she said “pretty hurts”.
    Y’all think the pretty ones are balling? you know nothing!
    At least if u aint that hot and u find a guy that wants to stick around you may not have to wonder why he is there.

    • Alem

      October 5, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      My dear I can totally relate to your pain. Experienced some of the things you wrote about. Pretty does hurt.

    • Dee

      October 5, 2015 at 11:40 pm

      I so feel you, I’m 40 and in as much as I’m a romantic at heart and still want to marry someone that loves me and that I love dearly, I sometimes feel there is something wrong somewhere. I get atteto on from married men, or men that I can’t feel for and the guys I like only wants me as a side chick. Life can be cruel jor?

  33. larz

    October 5, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    For a while in my mid-twenties, I went all natural. Afro hair , no make up or heels apart from parties. My outfit of choice was leggings and baggy thigh length dresses and converses/ crocs. I was like the girl next door, not the sexy tv or even black kind, the “white girl next door”. Why? Becuz there comes a time when you become tired of being seen as “hot and sexy”. The disrespect! I don’t care how nice guys seems when they think you are hot but it is gross disrespect when they see you as a sex symbol. Everything you say doesn’t sink in properly, it is just a weapon to get them to their end point, sex with you. So from my personal experience, I say be careful of what you wish for, that “sexiness hotness” the world is selling is overrated. Young boys are attracted to hotness / sexiness, but mature men know to look for substance, Sexy is a magnet that drawn all sort of idiots, the good, the bad and the ugly. So much frogs to kiss compared to when you are just average.

    PS- I met my husband in my SU phase ( a name my sis and mum coined to describe that period). My sis was the first to tell him that I wasn’t always like this. Courting was beautiful because for the first time, I felt heard. Chances I would have met him in my hot days but I prbly would have a gazillion other men vying for my attention. We may find each other but it would have been more complicated than it need to be.

  34. Koffie

    October 5, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    California Bawler, bring back the full name jo, it has a certain air to it…
    Growing up, I was always called “baby girl” or “princess” by my father (till today) and although there might be nothing special about “baby girl” but it made me feel pretty. I also used to compare other daddies to my dad and figured he was the finest of the lot and if he felt I was his baby girl/princess, I must really be pretty. I also heard people say I was my mother’s carbon copy and I figured she was/is beautiful and so I am. It was that simple for me. The one thing I wished I could change was my weight. If not for my boobs, I’d pass for a 12 year old even today. Kai, my mother would force multi-vitamins on me and practically force feed me, I didn’t understand it. Anytime I returned from boarding school, she’d say my neck is longer than ‘igo maggi’ and beg me to eat more than my body could take. She was doing it all so people wouldn’t bully me cos I’m petite but it affected my self-esteem. I didn’t get love letters in secondary school but that didn’t hurt cos I had a crush who had a crush on me and only his letters would have made a difference anyway. By SS2, I became this very confident girl who built strength cos she had heard ‘skinny, thin, lepa, tinrin’ too many times. What more was new? I started to build poise and embraced my good features; the long hair, the cat eyes, the pointed nose and the boobs. I stopped looking at full length mirrors/glass doors and only looked at my upper body, the confidence boost was incredible and I guess people started to see me the way I saw myself. Nowadays, when people point out that I’m skinny, I don’t feel bad. It is what it is.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      October 5, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      *In Chigul’s voice* Ewooooo, is it California Bawler that has now rebranded as “CB”?? Nne, biko show yasef as you once were, make we no waka pass you for road …. ?

      (and… plenty peepu don vacate these comment sections with style – abi, dem sef don rebrand? Make una stop to dey hide oh, we’re “milzing” you…)

      Koffie, your dad sounds like a rarity. ? It must have felt really good to know you were the apple of one man’s eye, at the very least, from an early age….

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      October 5, 2015 at 9:02 pm

      P.S: I’m jeloxing all you slim babes with big boobs. Why shall you be oppressing my humble cups (size withheld) with your lepacious boobiness? Jeloxing you all…??

      [As a random aside, I used to have this hypothetical argument in Uni with a good friend of mine, where the question would be posed – would you prefer boobs and no bakassi or bakassi and no boobs? I weighed in heavily on the latter whist she preferred the former (don’t judge us, we were young and full of idle thoughts) … but in this era of waist-clinchers, padded bras and hip/bum pads, I suppose the issue has really become moot…]

    • sybsie

      August 3, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      Lol….. i feel your ”old pain” sister… I used to be very skinny and felt soo bad about it that I was blinded to my other beautiful features..Thankfully now, though I added a bit of weight, i’m still slim but my confidence level has risen so high. My flat bum is even a source of joy to me…i call it the “traffic the causing ass”. My dear, I think its time we stopped listening to what others say about us and concentrate on the beauty on and inside us. Cheers!

  35. Magz

    October 5, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Atoke darling *big hug*

    I personally am aware of how family can affect one’s self-esteem; i had to start giving family members evil eye before they stopped saying “you have a big stature” (in a very derogatory way), especially my elder sister. Thank God, i have never had confidence or self-esteem issue. With a pretty face (even without makeup), and nice figure, i get my own share of compliments even from fellow females. In fact, sometimes it is annoying cos of the attention i get. My mum embarrasses me almost all the time with her ‘Oluwatomisin, omo mi to beautiful” line……lol!

    Even at that, i know people who have never had anything good to say. I once deleted an old school mate cos she took up the job of Tomisin’s weight-watcher; she always had something to say about my weight whenever i changed dp back then, one day, i gave her a piece of my mind and deleted her. Most mornings, when i wake up, i look in the mirror and tell myself “Damn! Magz, you are freaking beautiful. Thank You Lord”

    We as a people need to process what we say before we say them. I was shocked to hear my baby sister’s teacher tell her that no wonder she (my sis) is not fine because her elder sister (me) has taken all the beauty! Just because i am fair in complexion! She never greeted me beyond that day but i gave her a piece of my mind. Truth be told, i am jealous of her complexion most times. I imagine the damage it could have done to my sister considering the fact that most people (especially family members) tend to overlook her as one of my sisters just because she is the only dark girl, if she didn’t grow up with sisters & parents who always praised her dark skin. Her eyebrows are the most perfect among the four of us, she also has the best hair (very full, thick & long). We (the 3 older sisters) used to tease her that we would willingly exchange the fair skin for dark skin if we could get better shaped eyebrows and good hair………loooooool!

    My point; be your own cheerleader. There will always be people who will love you for whom you are. My ex-boyfriend used to protest seriously whenever i lost more than 10pounds; Bobo said it was the shape that drove him crazy 😀

    And for all those who often get told “you are not beautiful”, tell the next person who says that to you to shut up.

  36. Me

    October 5, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    My reply was to Mr or Mrs “word” up there

  37. Ladies let's keep it real

    October 5, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    While I really enjoyed the sincerity and rawness of this article, I’m quite amazed at the number of commenters who I suspect must be on a quest to “feel among”, but still exert a certain amount of superiority. So now 80% of bn commenters were so gorgeous and beautiful growing up that the sun, moon and stars took turns to worship them each day, but oh no what a hardship this worship was! Truly this humble breed of ladies despised all the compliments- in fact they even developed low self esteem from said compliments -and went to great lengths to hide their beauty in baggy clothes, afros etc…..really???? Deluded much? I’m not saying that none of the stories are true, but come on ladies let’s keep it real for once. It’s not by force to comment.

    • nwanyi na aga aga

      October 5, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      Looool! As much as that might amaze you, I really believed that comment because I understand the retinue of feelings that can lead to that kind of transformation. Let me explain the way it feels, You are in a meeting that you have spent all night prepping for, reading, researching and editing your presentation. Fast forward to the D-day, you are talking and people are looking at your face,hips, everywhere apart from your power point..You finish expecting intelligible questions, Next thing you hear is “Fine girl your slides are very fine like you” *insert round of chuckle and applause* No question, no nothing, you feel like you are a “dundy” or that you have presented nothingness that in fact they are just humoring you (lol!) or something, you feel that your beauty has taken your brains apart.
      You bring your business idea, next thing people will be saying “why is this fine girl not married? She must have bad character, fine girl like this, maybe she is choosing etc” No one is saying anything remotely connected to the business idea you have brought. Anywhere you go, people automatically believe you are an “airhead” cos beautiful ppl cant be intelligent at the same time.
      Everywhere you go people profess love, you cant even sift the ones that are true or the ones that shaa just want to bang fine babe..Most times fine people are lonely..take it from me, serious guys always believe you are already taken, only “try-ya-luck” people approach you, apart from people recommended by family. Some of these stories sound surreal but “Pretty hurts sometimes o especially once you have passed your teens and looking for something meaningful.

    • Word!

      October 5, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      Exactly! I’m glad You have eyes. Everyone now has an “oh so, Pretty but unpretty” tale to tell. Whenever articles like this comes up, everyone is quick to type this and that! In a bid to sound emotional, a lot of people make these things up and end up consoling or congratulating each others lies.. Then they complain about how other celebs’ take social media too serious, when they seem to be all over it and pouring out their fake live stories on every article.. Get over yourselves, Y’all can’t fool everyone.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      October 5, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Nwany or nwoke, a BN therapy session is in progress (actually, Atoke, you should consider getting virtual banners to mark articles like this where commenters feel urged to bare all) so let’s allow people to be honest about their feelings without the dread of being judged. Abeg, e jo, biko… And for those who may be faking it, let their guilty con-co prick them with deserved condemnation but for those who aren’t, let them feel like this is a safe place…

    • Larz

      October 9, 2015 at 10:21 pm

      It is a thing of the mind. If compliments are what you get the most of to the point it becomes harrassment, that becomes your biggest palava. If you are bullied by peers, family and those who praises you are desperate for then it becomes like a self fulfilling prophesy when you believe them. In these day and it is not hard to be deemed. Makeup, push up bras, butt pads, waist trainers etc. Plus there is no post gal for hotness, Giselle, Scalette Johnson, Megan Fox, Kim K, Beyonce, Rihanna, Meagan Good, Tyra Banks, Eva Longoria, Eva Mendes, jlo, have all been called sexy at some point in their life. There is no universal definition of hotness.

      Plus it is known that human being tend to yearn for whatever they believe is missing from their lifes- the opposite of what the currently have.

  38. lovin moi

    October 5, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    The struggle is real and one needs to develop a thick skin,we’ll always meet more beautiful people so all we need do is to be the BEST version of ourselves. Growing up I struggled with this and my parents no be bukuru so they didn’t know what to say,i had a pointed nose that was so obvious that people teased me a lot @ point I asked my mum if it was possible to cut it off thru surgery,she just laughed and said to me,u don’t know what u have. Today the nose is d center of attraction and gets me noticed but then d shaming early in life made me determined to make something out of my life,i also try to make sure my kids have a healthy self esteem and realize that inner beauty is more important than outward beauty!
    On a side note for all those still struggling( we all do sometimes) google the poem give yourself a hug and always read d comments on this chronicles with d link

  39. lovin moi

    October 5, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    In lupita’s voice * u can’t eat beauty * and neva depend on anyone for validation!

  40. debbie

    October 5, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    growing up, my dad made me feel being slim was a kind of illness. i got insults for being ‘skinny”. to him, being chubby was an evidence of good living/ good parental care. so i began hating d way i look and craved for more flesh.
    now i dislike anytin slim…infact i get scared when my clothes somehow do not cling on me..when i loose 1kg, i begin to fret

    i have always been pretty and i get compliments every now and then but to be honest, pretty is sometimes synonymous to ‘dumb’. il rather be complimented on my brains and intelligence

  41. Faceless/Nameless

    October 5, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    This is what I call a catch 22. It’s all in the mind of the person who is behilding you. As a child (between the age of 8 and maybe 12), I was sexually molested multiple times by an older male cousin, male neighbors and domestic help. Mind you, my anatomy was missing the main components of “hotness”, namely boobs, hips and a butt, but yet, every one of these people breathed it into my ear that I was hot/gorgeous/beautiful…
    My teen years flew by fast and I had a boyfriend or two. I was not “molested” by said boyfriends per se, but everytime I heard “you’re so hot, babe”, it took me back to that place of abuse.
    Here I stand: a woman in her early 30’s. I have come a long way from that little girl with nothing to a full fledged woman (in EVERY sense of the word). If I do say so myself, I’m pretty easy on the eyes, yet, I still constantly feel objectified my men. They don’t leave this feeling of objectification to my imagination- it’s glaring. Never mind that I bagged a defree in Finance with honors, bagged a post graduate degree-again with honors and currently a manager where I work. All I’m reduced to (most of the time) is lips-boobs-hips-ass, I’ve also gone past the phase where it bothers me. I just move past it. I can’t give anyone that much power over me.

  42. Lade

    October 5, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Parents and family members have a key role to play a building a child’s self esteem. I’m very black and from a family full of beautiful black people like me who never hesitate to tell me how beautiful I am. Growing up as a very black girl was normal for me. I was never treated badly because of my complexion in primary school or secondary school (girls boarding school in Osun). But when I got into uni I was shocked at how some people reacted to my complexion. They made wierd comments expressing their pity and advised me to ‘tone’ but I was never bothered, never bowed to pressure because I was very much appreciated where I came from. Infact my complexion made me a trophy grand child to my grandparents. But some people are not so priviledged as me, they’ve bowed to the pressure and altered their skin. Initially I used to judge but now I understand better. I now understand the importance of being surrounded by positivity especially in ones formative years.

    Also, I became slightly overweight after my Jss3 long vac. I didn’t like my body because the clothes didn’t fit as well as i wanted them to. Not like I was shapeless, infact I was size 12-14 pear shaped. My ‘hips don’t lie’ were my major point of attraction and I had lots of admirers. But I always felt like most people liked me because of my shape and not for who I am and I wanted my clothes to fit like beyonce’s, without flabs and all. I decided to lose weight and almost a perfect 8. What’s shocking is the reaction I got from some people- “your ass is now flat”,”you look sick”. While my hips are now less prominent, I know I look really healthy and i’m happy with where I am now. People no longer turn to stare at me sharply or run into the car infront of them because they were looking at my hips, but guess what? I love it! I feel relieved actually and my clothes now fit as I want.

    My point is, not everyone has parents or family that beef-up their self esteem. If you’re in this category then just be however you truly want and love yourself crazily regardless of what society thinks because no matter what form or shape you’re in, slim, tall, short, shapely, flat, fat, black, yellow, purple, people will still talk. So at the end of the day, It’s what makes you happy that counts.

  43. yumui

    October 5, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Oshey fairness. You even said it twice. We don hear aunty lol

  44. Degree

    October 5, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    This is a very relatable topic. In my very early years each time I fought with this my cousin she used to end up calling me “adaa” which may be fairly translated to “dwarf”. This hurt my feelings much more than the beatings from the fight. In sec sch I saw all my mates gradually grow past me yl I did what ppl referred to as ” i dashi”. I became a subject of ridicule and was given names (one i still remember is “mushroom”). Then i started being blamed for my shortness, some said it was cause of my evil ways others said it’s cos l’d started doing bad things (having sex. I was still a virgin). No one acknowledged the genetic factor. I was the most brilliant and was meant to be the ASP but……..same reason…….. u r petite. My confidence was eroded. Then I entered uni and bloomed. Somehow this rounded irresistible butts came from nowhere and I started turning heads albeit my shortness. But this was shortlived as I started gaining weight which emphasized my shortness. Now I’m struggling with my weight. But I won’t give up and I’m getting there. The summary is that I have experienced both sides of the coin and I know which is better. Today I experience stage fright whenever I have to address a crowd cos I always think ppl are judging me. I have been ridiculed by teachers, friends, peers, shop owners and even my boss (the time I did my IT). But the few times I received compliments made me feel transported and gave my confidence a boost. We should beware of what we say to ppl especially if they are ppl that sees you as their loved one.

  45. Tee

    October 5, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    Hi Atoke, this article is heart warming, deep and touching. It brought tears to my eyes as I remembered my teenage years.; now when I am told I’m beautiful, I believe it.
    You are beautiful too.
    Thank you.

  46. Baddie Bey

    October 6, 2015 at 12:45 am

    I was always a pretty girl. Got too much male attention even as a minor. Puberty hit and I ballooned at an unbelievable rate (my grandmother’s gene’s). Overnight the male attention seems to have stopped. From age 14 I have yo-yo dieted meaning I have been every size from 6 to 14 for most of my twenties. I still get the “pretty” compliments but aint nobody hitting on me like they used to. Consequently my self worth rises and falls in line with the scales. I recently joined team #fitfam and started doing 150 squats a day with weights. My booty rivals a Kardashian hands down. I added running and pressups and feel good about myself as a curvy size 12. Strange thing is men are finding this voluptuous toned figure “hot” but I now hate the attention I get. They look at me with that pervy stare that says I would F**k you if we were in a room alone. Men honk their cars and do double takes when they see me. Really creepy. Don’t like it. One guy looked me up and down and said “that looks like a good time in bed” ewwwww #cantwin haha.

  47. Bellassimo

    October 6, 2015 at 1:15 am

    I can totally relate to this Atoke…I was the smallest and the most unattractive i guess.I was also one of the youngest in sec sch and on Val’s day when everyone got a gift,I had to write a letter to myself and passed it off as a letter from an admirer…it was that bad…that was ages ago,am now the one everyone wants to make friends with.those people who ignored me them all want to be my friends.I ignore friend requests and proposals day in day out….that’s life…the right time will come.Am now the swan.holla to fgcw 1996 year group.

  48. DOO

    October 6, 2015 at 3:14 am

    You are beautiful, Atoke! The truth is nobody has it all and we always think the grass is greener on the other side. Many ‘beautiful’ people will love to have the talents that you have. I mean, with all the numerous beautiful girls flocking around Mr. Wellington he chose to val you a couple of years ago. Keep doing your thing and the person who appreciates your beauty will show up.

  49. Rrrrrrrrrrrr

    October 6, 2015 at 9:25 am

    I think most people missed the point Atoke was trying to make

    • tee

      October 6, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Oya tell us the point.

    • Manny

      October 6, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      Nah she made several points. Pick yours and let others pick theirs.

  50. Le moi

    October 6, 2015 at 9:57 am

    What if you know you have a great body shape but you lack dress sense??

  51. itunu

    October 6, 2015 at 10:13 am

    I can soooo relate! I hated sec school cos of this and grew accustomed to being invisible even in d Uni. Never wanted any1 to notice me and I criticised everything about myself. I hated being called cute, portable, smallie,etc especially “pretty”, i’m like, who are u trying to fool?! I luk at the mirror and just don’t like what I see. I take pictures, obsess abt them, wondering if I luk okay and then when I post them and sm1 tells me i’m pretty, I freak out and tell them it’s jst a pic wif a lot of makeup n i’m nt that person. My best friend hates this and wants to kill me half of the time cos I complain abt everything bt how can I believe what I don’t see?

  52. Anon

    October 6, 2015 at 11:48 am

    I agree with you. This is for those who struggle/struggled with low self esteem partly related to lack of attention/admirers, and how they overcame/are overcoming their esteem issues…..not for those who have always had more attention than they can/want to handle smh

  53. serene

    October 6, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    I’m short. Years of hearing my parents compliment me has made me indifferent to what any other person thinks. I ooze so much self confidence and its because I have it in me. Men don’t approach me, and most times my friends get all the attention (I have very beautiful friends). Sometimes it really hurts and on days like that, I talk to my self. I know I’m beautiful, that another person is not seeing it is not my problem. I didn’t create myself, so I do what works for me. Dress decently, continue being intelligent and just be good.
    self confidence is something you owe yourself and families should not toy with this. My parents have always told me I’m the best and no matter where I find myself, I never forget that.

  54. Petite

    October 6, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    Many comments bou my small stature really did a lot to damage my self esteem.. In my year one,this guy I so liked said he couldn’t date me cos it would be child abuse and I was like WTF!!! Buh thanks to my dad who makes me feel good bou myself..I sha sabi book evn if I no tall

  55. Tincan

    October 7, 2015 at 6:52 am

    Atoke, you came hard with this one. I have enjoyed reading both article and comments. I feel like the more mature you get, the more beauty becomes a decision. Find what works for you, stick with it and enjoy it. You are beautiful, no doubt. Every girl is, you just have to find a way to showcase it…

  56. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    October 7, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    I once came across a Ted Talk by Cameron Russell titled “Looks aren’t everything: Believe me, I’m a model”, sometime ago and this article brings it to mind again.

    First, I make bold to state that its very unfair for those who are naturally pretty and choose to ignore it, to consider being tired of receiving compliments akin to those who do not have anything to ignore at all. The baseline readings are not the same. You can therefore not arrive at the same conclusions.

    Second, you can get added degrees and qualifications to better your lot in the market. Unfortunately, it does not add extra cups to your boobs, change the shade of your skin or provide a slimmer aspect to your hips..

    Let me however draw attention to a certain aspect of our appearance that can make even the most ugly person by all standards striking and that is Presence.

    Atoke, this is where the feel good juice comes in all flavors. What these speakers believe is that when you feel good on the inside, it commands your physical person. That’s when you hear statements like, “I don’t know… there is just something about her”. My own “How?” goes like this: The sum of who you are does not include your physical appearance. You do not ignore it. You do not coddle it. You simply do not concern yourself with whose version of beauty is correct or whether yours matches aspects of it. You simply are. The moment you understand this, whatever you accomplish in life ceases to be a compensation for what you seemingly lack, It remains one of the most powerful things I’ve ever encountered. It remains one of the highest esteems many of us should attain.

  57. icareless

    October 8, 2015 at 7:37 am

    i rate beauty in a totally different context, i don’t see myself as a beautiful person facially, but i work on my inner strength to bring out the inner beauty.
    I made effort to be friendly, to be nice and be willing to help, even if it means bending a little i do that and i also always ensure i give an outward disposition of been happy.
    i realized that it works a lot and i also find out that people who would rather want a very pretty girl beside them would want me cos ive made effort to acquire knowledge in every area.
    beauty to me is brilliance, no guy wants a dull lady, it goes beyond the face.

  58. veeki

    October 9, 2015 at 10:42 am

    I love this article. i started believing i was beautiful during my service year. I was surprised by the comments i got from men, and also from women. I was one of those chosen to represent my platoon during the Miss NYSC beauty pageant. I wonder did i suddenly get a visit from the angel of beauty or what.
    Over the years i have come to realise that inner beauty lasts longer that the physical beauty, Be intelligent, smart, wise and pleasant. All these leave their mark on those we meet.

  59. Anonymous

    October 12, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    Atoke, thank you. I had tears in my eyes reading this. It’s like you told the story of my life word for word, right down to the wrong relationship and being dumped for a friend. It hurts…it hurts bad. Even though these days I’m appreciating myself more, there’s still those insecurities buried not so far beneath the surface, and makes it difficult to even believe when I’m being truly complimented. I’m working on it sha. Than you again for this post. God bless you.

  60. sally

    October 13, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    This so me…I have a fat round face,yam leg, nd flat butt’s, am even about buying Maca roots… ppl hardly talk to me….I researched n discovered how to work out my beauty, I reduced my starch intake,i dont eat late, I eat lots of fruits n veggies believe u me….i ve started to glow n I get compliment!!!!

  61. Ayo

    February 18, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    wow, reading this took me back to when i was in high school. I was nicknamed because of my backside. I was buillied, and made fun of. Univeristy days was a different story, no one even noticed me and my friends were these beautiful sexy girls whom guys always approached when we were togehter. But now, I am confident, beautiful and my own person. people respect, one thing i got form this article is, be urself not because of the world but beacue you want to be different. Make up or not it doesnt matter whosoever will open the door, gush at you, wink or whatever will. Thats how i see life.

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