Everyone has insecurities — something that they are ashamed of or something they wish they had. In this article, I asked eleven Nigerian women about their biggest insecurities. Here’s what they had to say.
I am insecure about the shape of my body. I am a masculine-presenting woman, and I hate that I am not as feminine as the average woman. It fucked with my mind at some point. But I have come to appreciate my body for what it is. Right now, the only thing I’m insecure about is not being smart enough for my career.
I was born with dreadlocks. When I was two years old, my parents cut them off. This left me with bald patches where my edges should be. I don’t think it would have bothered me so much if people around me didn’t make a big fuss about it. It seemed like my whole life and personality revolved around not having front hair.
My mum tried everything to make my hair grow. When all the creams and concoctions didn’t work, she went spiritual. At some point, I was accused of being a witch who was cutting her hair to torment her parents. The stigma followed me to secondary school where people would call me ugly to my face. I felt ugly — I couldn’t do the hairstyles I wanted because my mum and sister always wanted me to make hairstyles that would cover my front hair.
I rarely go to the salons because any mention of my baldness ruins my mood and hairdressers always want to recommend something. I don’t like people touching my hair so most times, I make my hair. I can’t wait until I can afford surgery because I’d like to know what I look like with a head full of hair.
I am insecure about the scars I have from when I used to self-harm. I worry that people will talk about it or judge me. This is why I always wear long sleeves.
My biggest insecurity is my dentition. My teeth are scattered so I try not to laugh in public so that people won’t laugh at them. Someone told me to never smile again. When I was in secondary school, they used to call me hammer teeth of horror.
I’m insecure about being broke. Even though I am just 28, I have the responsibilities of a 100-year-old. There are a lot of people who are dependent on me. Because of this, whenever I think I’m about to be broke, I start panicking. I have been working for about three years now, but I don’t have any savings because everyone needs something. I can’t even buy things for myself without thinking about what would happen if one of them asks me for money and I don’t have. It’s tiring.
I have a serious and attractive appearance. When people meet me for the first time, they like me, but as we get closer, I notice that they stop being friends with me. I struggle with people accepting me or not. I never fit in — it’s either I am too cool to be part of a clique or I am too naive. I deny myself things just to please friends. This is something I am working on though.
I worry that I may never be able to love anyone. I find it difficult to express that feeling. I tend to appreciate people more from a distance. The moment we connect, I feel whatever likeness I had wilt away. Maybe I’m just scared of it but what happens if I get married and can’t express love to my partner or children? I read an article about a woman who couldn’t like her children and I thought isn’t this me?
I feel like I will never be enough for everybody. If I fail my exams, my mum, who paid my school fees, will be sad and her “enemies will laugh at her” as she always says. If I fail my dad, he will not be able to brag about me even though he is not paying my school fees. Failing them feels like failing myself. If I fail, I waste precious time and nobody will marry a failure. I won’t have enough money to give my children. Even with the certainty of being safe in Jesus, I am still scared of being a failure.
Most times, I am uncomfortable in my skin. I think I would look better if I had less fat on my face or a flat belly. I also wish I was taller or the colour of my skin was a bit lighter.
I worry a lot about whether I will be able to keep generating the money I need to support myself. I get scared that I might not be able to afford the things I want when I want them without much stress or mental gymnastics. That is my biggest insecurity.
Body parts are meant to be asymmetrical but the difference in mine is not subtle at all. My left breast is significantly bigger than my right, which means my right nipple faces forward while the left faces the side. My left feet and butt cheek are also bigger than my right. It used to bother me a lot when people teased me about them but now, I don’t care what they think because at the end of the day, na God create me like this.
I have always been insecure about being skinny. Nigeria is not like Asia or other countries where slim women are adored. Here, I could be walking down the street and someone would call me smallie. My father tells me I am as straight as a pole. I weigh less than 50kg and I wish I could gain more.
I added a lot of weight within a short period and it made me dislike my body. I always knew I was going to gain weight because the women in my family get bigger as they get older but I didn’t think I was going to hate it. I don’t think my body looks good on me. I think it’s ugly. I know these are things I shouldn’t feel about my body but I do.