My Open Letter to Self-Esteem

Dear Self-Esteem,

Thank you so much for being my friend, and for generally sticking around through rough times.  We’ve been together since I got teased in grade school for talking like a white girl, or for being mostly chubby and geeky through junior high school, and even still through college when I flunked out after freshman year but then came back to graduate.  Since we’ve been together for a while, I think I can tell you that you’re missing some great opportunities with today’s women, and you need to do better with that.  I feel like since we have such a close, intimate relationship, I can point out your shortcomings.

People often invoke your name when they see, as I did, a woman walking down the street at 4:30 PM wearing hot pants and over-the-knee boots.  A bunch of folks will think that the outfit is an expression of high self-esteem.  After all, Ms. Hot Pants had a great body and she was just showing it off in the balmy late-fall weather.  Or they’ll say that she’s comfortable in her skin, and in her clothes, no matter what anyone thinks.  Maybe.  But I contend that someone who’s really happy with themselves, and that thinks highly of themselves, doesn’t need to dress like a streetwalker on Sunday afternoon.  Someone who knows you very well might say, “I don’t need to stick out in order to be remarkable” then put down the pootie-cutters in favor of a nice pair of pants. Indeed, Self-Esteem, you’ve taught me that everyone has the capacity to be special, to feel special in the absence of attracting attention.  So, please pay a visit to Ms. Hot Pants.  Tell her she kinda looks like an idiot, and that she should introduce you to some other women I’ve seen around.

Mostly, you could stand to pal around with women who think even negative attention is good because at least SOMEONE is looking.  There are men who think this way too, but they usually don’t parade around half-naked so they’re hard to see.  You should also look for people from both genders who stay in bad relationships because they’d rather have someone than be single.  They probably always look for the distraction of relationships (or work, or other people’s drama) so they don’t have to think about how much they hate themselves.

You also need to look for people who say things like “I have high self-esteem”, because, like sex, I think that people who talk about it a lot don’t have a lot of it.  If you actually HAVE high self-esteem, you don’t need to say it because it just is.  People will know by the way you act, the way you speak, the way you look.  If you have to point it out, it probably means that you’ve done or said something that generally connotes low self-esteem.  Then again, I don’t have to tell you who your friends are.

Anyway, you’ve done a pretty good job with me, since the world like to put upon Black women, people with bipolar, and any other of the labels that could be used to describe me.  Still, I’m thinking that we’re in it for the long haul.  I love you, Self-Esteem, and I love me too!  See you tomorrow.



#Armchair Therapist#femimism#self-esteem


  1. keishua - November 15, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

    I like this post. I was just watching the Badgirls club the other day(I know..I know) and one thing that really got on my nerves is when people claim they are keeping it real when they are being really mean. Like the only way to be real is be really rude and mean and that means you have confidence and self-esteem. I like how you turn things on their head in this post. I think that it is on-going struggle for me to have confidence in myself is a graceful way. As black girl who speaks so- proper english, has electric taste and is rural identified-I have accepted that I am a bit of weirdo but I wouldn't have me any other way.

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