"As I've stated before, I am someone who is very transparent via social media. A lot of you who have followed me for some time know that I have been constantly working on personal development & really trying not to let my insecurities get the best of me. This is why I am so excited for the #ReadyToStareWokeUpLikeDis movement.

The more I talked with @readytostare about our own insecurities, the more I realized that they are deeply rooted in my various life experiences & won't just go away on their own. It's a complex cycle of cause and effect over the course of years and years denial, mistreatment, abuse, low self-esteem, etc.

All my life I've been too small, too skinny, my hair wasn't long enough, I wasn't light enough OR dark enough. I would tell myself that I wasn't deserving of love or attention because of what I didn't have physically. I was always comparing myself to other girls in high school and college based on what guys liked. I was made to believe that my body 'type' was ugly, not sexy, or the most common trend: I'm always a great friend but never anything more.

What made things even worse was experiencing sexual abuse in college by someone who I was openly seeing at the time. I felt I deserved that mistreatment for being foolish enough to think that someone like him would be genuinely interested in me. That hurt carried into relationships where I subconsciously sabotaged myself with my own defeatist thinking.

Long story short (kinda) , I am thankful that @readytostare has chosen to take #IWokeUpLikeDis and turn it into a mission to own your flaws & who you are. I am owning my insecurity. I am beautiful because of my journey thus far and the most gorgeous part of me is my heart which shines in everything I say and do.

I encourage others to embrace what they perceive as flaws & be fearless in doing so. We are all human; dealing with our own internal struggles on a daily basis. Visit www.readytostare.com to get your #IWokeUpLikeDis shirt & share your story with others using the #ReadyToStareWokeUpLikeDis#RTSWokeUpLikeDis hashtags.

"We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?"

***  This is Charrise Renee's story. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @CharriseRenee

This post was originally published on Jan 23, 2014