I was the girl on the left for a long time. Shy, timid, awkward, unphotogenic, and a strange mix between a tomboy and a young girl who hadn’t found her style yet attempting to be a fashionista. Needless to say, I was not the first girl you thought of when those “Whose Attractive” conversations came about. Guys weren’t knocking down my door begging to have my number, and girls wanted to be associated with someone who physically “fit in”, which unfortunately was not me. I was on the other end of the pole, the end that had the teasing and the “Eww, she’s ugly I would never date her” remarks attached to it. One guy even flat out told me a few years after we graduated High School that even though he liked me, he didn’t want to date me because he was scared that his friends would tease him for being with me.
But as I got older, I grew up…mentally, professionally, and as you can see, physically. And the same people that disregarded my presence, teased me, and were embarrassed by me were now doing the exact opposite. Sure, the good feedback to the “glo up” is nice, but I always stop and think, what’s so different now? The girl to the right is just a product of puberty, 3 years of braces, and a little dabbling in hair and makeup. But she’s still the same as the girl on the left. I am still shy, timid, and a little awkward. I still ask tons of questions just for curiosity sake. I still have an obsession with trap music. I still watch interviews just for fun. I still have a love for Spicy Food and 90’s fashion. I still have the same morals and beliefs. I still am Linda Chinwe Okoli…and I always was. So why would my change in appearance be the determining factor in why you want to get to know me now, when I’ve been this person all along? In fact, I attribute my outward change to the change that has manifested from within me. But those people chose not see the inward Linda, because the outside Linda just wasn’t as appealing. Sure I was a nice girl, but I wasn’t “pretty”…so who I was inside didn’t matter. And while I hated it back then, I am grateful for the protection it gave me. It shielded me from superficial people and meaningless relationships, and allowed me to befriend people that truly wanted to know me for me, even though it may have only been a few. And just as those people chose not to have anything to do with me in the past, I choose not to have anything to do with them in the present because I choose to focus on the people that make the conscious decision to see past what the eyes can’t.
Remember that if someone couldn’t see the diamond you were while you were still in the rough, then they shouldn’t get the opportunity to experience your shine. Before the glo up, You were always great and you were always destined to be special. If they were too busy doubting your potential in your attempt to be close, let them admire your ACTUALITY through your distance. And as the guys that never gave you the time of day slowly come running out of the woodworks, and as the girls that ignored you start suggesting lunch dates to “catch up”, remember the esteem that you’ve gained as you’ve matured into who you are now. Because when you do, those people won’t seem as appealing as they once did. And as you continue to glo, remember that those who didn’t want you at your “worst”, should never enjoy the luxury of your best.