Like most women, I’m sure I receive my fair share of attention. A “hello beautiful” here, a “you have a man?” there…but this was every single day. I mean every single day and sometimes multiple guys.
Recap? Glad you asked:
Monday-The man who almost lost his arm trying to reach me through the closing subway door as I was exiting.
Tuesday-A co-worker I hardly knew.
Wednesday-Two guys I somehow kept running into at Herald Square as I was trying to shop. Then another who begged to sit beside me on the train.
Thursday-Another man on the subway who was adamant about being my friend.
Friday-The Domino’s delivery man…yes, I did just say that.
Saturday-A male friend who I soon realized wanted to be more than friends as his hand somehow kept creeping to the small of my back.
Sunday-One man who chased me down in the subway tunnel (clearly I take the subway a lot). Another who failed to get my attention after he yelled “hey pretty” rather aggressively as he walked by.
Of course I shared my experiences with girlfriends and of course my tales were met with expressions of “you go girl,” “you’re doing it,” and “I see you.” I shrugged them off. Certainly Miss confident-fierce-independent-and-strong-don’t-need-a-man-to-tell-me-who-I-am-Shala Marks isn’t fazed by a series of onlookers… right? Well, that’s what I thought.
You see, after getting so much attention in one week, I found myself expecting it and if I didn’t get a look or compliment, the questions started rolling in.
What’s the difference this week?
Am I not looking as great?
Was it my hairstyle? Should I have changed it?
The quest to uncover why the change in my circumstances led me to ponder an even greater question: Why does it matter?
Ladies, so many of us glorify attention. Let’s be real. To have someone approach us or express interest means something to us, we place a certain value on it. A friend of mine says if she goes out with a group of friends and doesn’t get approached by a guy, although her friends do, she automatically assumes something is lacking within herself.
Again, I ask why?
I know plenty of women who would feel the same way my friend does, but why? Why is it that we need someone or something to tell us that we are pretty, sexy, worthy and enough? Why do we depend on everything outside of us to validate who we are?
I spent a great deal of time deciding what my first article would be for BrownSista.com. Because this is the “A Word for my Sistas” section, sistas, may I leave you with some words?
True validation comes only from the image reflected back to you in the mirror: yours.
You approve yourself.
You authenticate who you are.
You confirm your worth, your value, your attractiveness and intelligence.
Only you can define what it means to be you.
I always tell my friend even if you walk into a room full of men and not one of them turns their head in your direction, you have to know you’re it.
My Sistas, you have to know.
Before he tells you, before she assures you.
You have to know.
Before that degree, before that title.
You have to know.
So the next time you do receive some attention, whether from a spouse, partner or stranger, I hope that you will know although the compliments may be nice and flattering, they don’t hold a candle to the ones from that girl in the mirror.
Service is her passion, writing is her platform, women and the Black Community are her avenues. Shala Marks is a writer, editor and soon-to-be author. Marks aspires to help make a difference in society through the messages in her writings. She has a B.A. in journalism from Arizona State University. Check her out at: