If there was one physical flaw on your body you could fix or make disappear, what would it be? Do you compare yourself to others rating your flaw from 0-10 depending on what theirs is? What do you really say to yourself when you look at your flaw? Are you critical? Are you negative? Are you even aware of how frequently these thoughts race through your head?

In middle school, I was so self-conscious about my lips. I loathed my lips. In fact, I hated them. They were too big, uneven, and not cute.

Uneven, you ask? Yep, uneven. I believe I was around 10 when my brother Brel and I were outside playing at our beloved Mama T’s house. Brel kicked the ball to me – of course, I missed, I was not the Redstar prodigy my big brother was – and I took off into the street to catch it.

Y es, my parents taught us about not racing out in streets chasing after balls but there I was. I the street trying to catch that ball until I slipped up in some leaves and face-planted with my two front teeth sinking into my bottom lip.

That, my friends, is what left the scar on my bottom lip.

Fast forward to middle school, I hated my big, uneven lips so much so that I wanted a lip reduction and the scar removed.

I had convinced my mom to take me to consult with a plastic surgeon for the scar but what I didn’t tell her was that I was going to have a secret powwow with the surgeon to ask him if while he was working on that scar, could he go ahead and reduce the size of my lip as well.

I don’t remember much about what came of that consultation aside from my mom telling me I was beautiful and there was nothing wrong with my lips.

I didn’t get the surgery.

Once I landed in the make-up wearing age, I gravitated towards one shade and one shade only; Raisenberry from Mary Kay. I remember trying on that shade for the first time and thought that this was the only color that would look right on these lips of mine. It was me and my lips looked normal. The idea of any other shades like pinks, reds, or nudes would look outright wrong.

There were plenty of beauty consultants who suggested vibrant colors for me and swooned at the idea of my lips cloaked in Pink Diamonds or Really Red. I thought they’d lost it.

To tell you the truth, I don’t remember which straw broke the camel’s back but no sooner than I found myself secretly criticizing those beauty consultants who suggested such ridiculous lip colors for me, I found myself loving my now luscious lips! What was I thinking?? My lips are beautiful! Why wouldn’t a bold, vibrant, daring color look good on me?

I realized that embracing my natural self was actually me confidently accepting my flaws and loving who I am. And it just so happens to be that I have an uneven bottom lip with a scar that no one would really notice unless I pointed it out.

Now, lipstick is absolutely one of my favorite things; I am a lipstick enthusiast. For the times I’m not in full-fledged makeup but still want to look lively and add a pop of color, I slap on a pretty color and Bam!

In hindsight, Lord knows I was young, impressionable, insecure, and coming up short in the self-esteem department. Ain’t no way in the world I’d ever consider reducing my lips or even worry about the once dreaded scar now! No lipstick intimidates me. Red, purple, pink, and blue? Yeah, I’ll rock that too.

Mainstream beauty and fashion have created this ideology of what standard beauty is. I’m not knocking anyone in particular because I think women are beautiful, periodt! But, while we accept that someone else’s beauty is different than our own, we are miracles of beauty in our own right. Wanting a smaller stomach, smaller lips, bigger breasts, a smaller nose, or flawless skin is hoping for beauty. Our self-worth is not tied to our appearance. Remember, we are all flawed in one way or the other so be proactive and choose to embrace who you are, flaws and all!