Today’s Phenomenal Beauty is Shannon, my old coworker turned friend friend, accountability buddy and sometimes mid-day therapist. We met within a leadership program, and bonded over wanting more for ourselves, health-wise. Shannon is one of the very few technical female friends I have, [#blackgirlswhocode] and she is also one of the few that has a good sense of self. Check out what she has to share!
Name: Shannon Alex
What’s your passion?: My passion that I’ve always had is to challenge myself in everything I do. The passion that I’m starting to develop is helping others succeed.
Fun Fact: In 2012, my job moved me from New England all the way down to Texas. At first I was devastated, but 2 and half years later I’m still here in Texas and wouldn’t have it any other way.
So let’s get to the nitty gritty! Describe your self-esteem level. Are you a Beyonce- Flawless? Are you struggling with your sense of worth? Or are you a little in-between?
Growing up, my self-esteem level was about -30. I was bullied in middle school, ignored in high school, and depended on male attention in college. Now that I’m long out of college and know that I have a lot going for myself, my self-esteem is definitely higher, depending on the day. Sometimes I feel fierce like Olivia Pope and no one can do anything to prove me wrong. Other days I feel like Britney Spears 2007. But I’m taking it one day at a time, bit by bit.
Did you have a New Year’s Resolution set? Last year, you spoke of running a 5K, learning to love more, reducing some debt and much more. Were you able to accomplish these thing? Did they impact the way you view yourself today?
Every year I set a resolution to lose weight, and every year I either don’t lose weight or gain back the weight I lost. This year I tried my best to set attainable goals. I did have a goal last year to run a 5K but a leg injury prevented me from completing one before the Texas summer heat hit. So this year, despite a knee injury, I set my resolution to run a 5K and I actually registered for one in March and will be running with some friends so they can hold me accountable. Another goal I set last year was to save more money and I succeeded! I did the 52 Week Money Challenge, with a bit of a twist, and still have that money saved right now which I plan on using to jumpstart my house fund.
Do you have any insecurities you have yet to come to terms with?
When it comes to my looks, I’m very insecure. I’ve always been the DUFF – Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Even though I’ve kind of gotten over that way of thinking, I still let my weight impact how I feel about how I look. It’s kind of like how when you’re getting ready to go out and you look in the mirror and think you look amazing…and then you get to the club and regret showing your face because everyone else is 100 times better looking than you.
Who’s to blame for woman’s low self-esteem: Society, her surroundings, or herself?
I think society is to blame. It’s impossible to go an hour on Twitter without seeing some man… sorry I mean boy, saying something horrible about women. And it’s even worse for black women. Society portrays beauty as long legs, thin waist, small nose, blonde hair, blue eyes. Anything else is unacceptable.
What words of advice would you share with your 16-year-old self about self-esteem, self-worth, and of course, surviving these transformational years?
As cliche as it sounds, life gets better. I promise that one day, while you’re at a restaurant ready to order your $100 steak, you will look up and see that mean face from high school taking your order. Someone will love you for who you are and not what you have. You are beautiful.