By Alondra Montes-Martinez
Sometimes we as women have forgotten that our inner voice serves a greater purpose to us then the ones outside.
My appearance and worth have been questioned by male family figures. I forgot who I was because I sought their validation, I cared too much about my family’s opinion of me.
My siblings and I were taught the importance and value of going to church. However, I was especially taught that my appearance was important, to “impress God.”
The church and my faith put pressure on us, it turned into something to dread. I knew that I would have to endure some form of pressure to ensure I looked put together when attending church.
Aside from that, I always felt the pressure placed on me by older male family figures about my appearance. The interactions were belittling and cruel. I would listen when they spoke about women and listening to these conversations set up unrealistic standards to live up to.
I was young and not allowed to stand up for myself against these older male family figures, so I endured it.
Enduring ultimately led to an over fixation on my appearance.
Hearing such cruel words about my appearance from older men, my father included — who was the man I looked up to — was confusing.
My growth as a woman was hindered. It made me question my self worth. Confidence is one of the most important factors to have as a woman.
The standards of what a woman should be is always determined by men. This leads to young girls, including myself, to struggle with accepting who we are.
I was so infatuated with making myself perfect in the eyes of these men. Being tall, skinny and wearing just enough makeup to look flawless consumed my every thought.
It seemed like no matter how hard I tried, they saw the opposite. Trying to prove myself to everyone aside from myself made me feel worthless.
I felt unhappy, hideous and self conscious.
Feeling and seeking validation from men made me also resent other women for having traits that I lacked. This ultimately led to negative thoughts and relationships with women. It blocked necessary bonds that I needed to make with other women to grow my confidence.
These are the reasons I never allowed myself to step out of the house without an ounce of makeup on.
Even though I had people in my life that praised me and tried to uplift my self esteem, it did nothing for me unless it came from men.
It took me a long time to get over that but once I did I realized the importance of seeking my own validations.
Seeking validation from men does not matter. Fixating on my appearance and behavior barred me from enjoying life.
I’m done sacrificing my happiness for a man’s approval.
The only opinion that I am now starting to value is my own. I am now in pursuit of validation for myself rather than for others. I wake up in the mornings and do my hair and makeup based on what I want to look like and take only my approval into consideration.
This is how it should have been from the beginning.