As a kid, I was obsessed with the glow up. I fantasized about that one magical day where I would wake up and be hotter, smarter, more talented, and more confident in a night. It is what I’d like to call: The Manny Santos Effect.
Who is Manny Santos?
Manny Santos is a fictional character from one of my favorite childhood television shows: Degrassi: The Next Generation. One of its most memorable episodes is from one of its earlier seasons: Season 3, Episode 3: ‘U Got the Look’. Below is the full episode if you’d like to check it out:
During the episode, Manny is struggling with her image. She wants to make the transition from ‘adorable’ to ‘hot’. All she has to do is put on a tube top, a pair of hoop earrings, and a fluorescent thong. BAM! The world sees her differently.
I have awaited my Manny Santos moment through middle school, high school, and college. Now, I will be 25 in a few short days and I wonder: will that moment ever come?
Not a Girl Not Yet a Woman
During my 24th year, I accomplished a lot. I’ve lost 40 pounds. I wrote a book (kind of). I’ve gained some awesome bylines. (The Daily Beast is probably the coolest, check it out here.) But, I still find myself not believing that I’m actually a woman or actually an adult. I still believe my Manny Santos moment is on the horizon. Not only will other people see me differently, but I’ll see myself differently.
But, I’ve been thinking about the glow up all wrong. It isn’t a physical transformation, it’s mental. Glowing up is about accepting yourself. Knowing exactly who you are and living in your truth unashamedly will attract the right people into your life and make others see you differently. I’ve been working through this method of thinking, especially during my 24th year, and it’s been difficult.
The Art of Accepting Yourself
During my 24th year, I came to terms with the fact that I’m terrified of starting. With starting, comes the opportunity to fail. This terrifies me.
Armed with that knowledge, I know that I have to push myself through the beginning of starting any project. Once I’ve started, the rest is typically smooth. But, I wouldn’t have been able to come to that conclusion until I accepted this shortcoming.
Also, another thing that I’ve learned during my 24th year is that I’m not a makeup kind of girl. I have been trying to force myself to like makeup for years and I’ve spent so much money buying makeup products that I’ve only used a handful of times.
Reasons why I don’t like doing makeup:
- Finding the right shades as a dark-skinned girl is nearly impossible
- I’m never happy with the looks I create
- It’s just not fun
Once I stopped trying to convince myself that because I’m a girl I’m required to like makeup, I realized how much I loved skincare. I have a lot of fun trying different masks, serums, and moisturizers to see what would lead me towards clearer skin.
25 is the Year of Self-Compassion
My glow up is about being more compassionate to myself. My passions, strengths, shortcomings, insecurities, and thought processes are all valid. I shouldn’t be trying to shame myself into growth. I should be honest with myself, kind with myself, and work with myself.
I haven’t been treating myself like a friend — and I should. I say things to myself that I would never say to friends or family. I’m going to work on giving myself, my true self, more grace.
There is no finish line to self-improvement. It’s a journey you have to take minute by minute. I’m going to keep working, growing, and pushing myself to become a more authentic version of myself: from 25 until forever.