post written by: Marc Chernoff

I Am My Own Worst Enemy


I Am My Own Worst Enemy

A petite, light-skinned Jamaican woman sits with her husband in a crowded beachside ice cream shop in San Diego.  Although she doesn’t speak loudly or occupy much space in the room, people notice her.

Her hair is long, flowing and black like a windy night.  Her lips are soft and red like rose petals.  Her curves are subtle, yet they dip and bend in all the right places.  Her skin is smooth, brown, maple cream.  And her clothes are modest, accentuating everything, while exposing nothing at all.

She knows why they’re looking at her.  “It’s because I’m not white,” she says.  “It’s because we’re an interracial couple and they don’t understand why you’re with me.”

Her husband groans and closes his eyes.  There’s nothing he can say.  They’ve already had this conversation a hundred times before.  He threads his fingers through his hair in frustration and watches as his chocolate ice cream begins to melt.

Three tables over, two white college kids eat their ice cream cones and check out ‘the scene.’  As usual, they’re not impressed.  The women around here are too old, too fat, too ugly, or…, “Wow, look at her,” the pimple-faced one says as he nods his head towards the Jamaican woman.

The prematurely balding one turns around to look.  “Oh yeah, she must be a model,” he replies.  “She’s way out of our league, bro…”

“I don’t think I should have to explain why this is so painful for me,” the Jamaican woman continues.  “The media portrays white, blonde females as the essence of beauty and perfection.  My color is simply a genetic defect.”

A chubby white girl, about ten years old, naively stares at the Jamaican woman while sipping a root beer float.  Small tears stream down her face.  “Daddy, why can’t I be as pretty as her?” she asks her father.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re physically faithful to me,” the Jamaican woman says to her husband.  “Because with all these influences surrounding you, you’re probably internalizing your deep desires for a genetically endowed female companion.  And it kills me!  Don’t you understand?”

“Please honey… Are you ready to go home?” her husband replies softly.  She hasn’t taken a single bite of her brownie sundae and all of the ice cream has already melted.  She sighs and stands up, weakly.

Three well-dressed white women in their late twenties talk cheerfully and sip diet cokes at a table near the door.  They were all childhood friends at a local orphanage.  When they were eventually placed in different foster homes, they lost contact with each other.  This special reunion is their first time together in almost fifteen years.

“Did you see those three women by the door?” the Jamaican woman asks her husband as they walk to their car.  “Wealthy white women like that don’t even appreciate how easy their life has been.”

Photo by: Jasmic

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40 Comments

  • Poignant story!…. how much of it did you see/hear, vs. think of on your own? Either way, it gets the point across… I also like the way I heard it put by another author: “I am the victim of my own excesses.”….

  • Very interesting story! I read it over again and realized that it was the Jamaican beauty that was looking down on herself, while almost everyone else in the story were saying positively bout’ her.

    Excellent story shared! :)

  • Hi Marc,
    I am so impressed with the way you portray lack of self confidence in an individual with a story so beautifully written. Great post.

    -Karlil

  • I know , I am my own worst enemy, but just like that Jamaican woman can’t do anything about it .

  • This is a wonderful story. It’s a good lesson and a reminder of how your own perceptions of who you are count for so much, and how surprised you might be about how others see you.

  • Marc and Angel, as usual, simply outstanding. Stumbled and will tweet later.

  • Great story — thank you so much for sharing it here. It’s so interesting how so many of us our own worst enemies. I try to remind myself that I’m my harshest critic and that no one will ever judge me as much as I judge myself. Pathetic as that may sound, it does help me to keep my negative thoughts in perspective.

  • What a great way to share just how reality it all too often - we need not compare ourselves with everyone else. And that can be hard today, given the emphasis we too often place on external appearances. What a great story to really show this in action…

  • A story you need to read a couple of times to get the full impact. It’s so true many people are looking down at themselves, whilst others see them in a very different positive light.
    You first need to love yourself before you can love someone else.

  • What a wonderful story. It really shows how lowly this beautiful woman thinks of herself. She has such low self esteem. I have a few friends that excel in so many different areas, yet stil they defeat themselves and put themselves down.

    Great story. If only someone could show them.

  • Great story with a great lesson for all of us. Thanks!

  • Hey mate,

    Beautiful story, and what’s sad it’s so common to watch.

    I don’t know what’s worse, women asserting they are beautiful, or women asserting they are not.

    Instead of just noticing they are beautiful and letting that shine.

    Mr. Twenty Twenty
    That guy who changed his name to the number of perfect vision, because YOU living YOUR VISION matters.

  • Most people don’t understand they’re true potential until they are told by someone they don’t know that they’ve got it.

  • Wow, touching story to illustrate the point that we are all our worst critics. The self image/skin color thing is a HUGE problem in the black community and it’s ironic that you’re the one to write this story. The magnitude of the problem is so bad that it’s contributing to the black community as a whole imploding on itself. Basically it’s the perfect model of what happens when you are overly concerned about what you think people think about you. I will spare the details here though.

    I think this is a perfect reminder that most people are self-absorbed and aren’t going to remember or even notice your “flaws,” which most of the time aren’t. Awesome post, Marc.

  • This is the first time I have visited your site and I am glad that I did because this story is an excellent way to illustrate the insecurities we have and how we never realize our true potential just because of them.

    You are now on my list of Blogs to read.

  • You all rock!

    I wasn’t sure how well this story would be received. So it’s great to hear that many of you enjoyed it.

    Thanks for putting a smile on my face today. :-)

  • Wow. Such a poignant story that perfectly illustrates the breadth and power of perception.

    We should remember that everything we experience is simply a matter of perception. With that life lesson firmly entrenched in our minds, with practice, it becomes relatively easy to change our perceptions, change our self-talk, change our emotions, and change our experiences.

    This story really touches our hearts because we can so easily see how the Jamaican woman’s self-image could have undergone a complete turnaround if she’d been able to perceive herself as others did. If this is true for her, it’s also true for us—and for any circumstance.

  • Wow, do that many people really think that way?
    I know I’ve got my own issues, but I remember from basic psychology years ago in high school that we all see our own flaws more than anything else, while others see us either as a whole, or even tend to not see our flaws at all.
    It makes sense that this story is about a woman. Women dwell on things that just bring them down. (And yes, I am a woman, I speak from experience.)
    I just want to shake so many people and tell them to stop wasting energy on the negative!

  • Marc, you are a gifted story teller. Perception often has a very lose connection with reality in our personal little worlds.

  • Thanks for showing once again that it’s what WE think about ourselves that is our downfall.

  • What a wakeup call. Not only to the fact that I have no idea what the others around me are dealing with, but that it’s not always about me.

    Amazing post.

  • An AMAZING story! That poor woman can’t see the forest for the trees as they say. Like many of us she’s so caught up in her own misery that she can’t see that she is 1. the envy of many and 2. possesses the love of her spouse.

    They young lady is right though; the media has done a wonderful job as subconsciously dictating to us what is and is not acceptable as real beauty in our society. The question is: What shall we/do we do about it?

  • Great Story. Very thought provoking!

    Nice work.

  • Nice piece of writing; the bit about her not eating her ice cream was poignant. I feel bad for the husband, as well, in a way.

  • What a great story. I use to be my own worst enemy, but as time passed and life challenged me, I’ve become my own best friend…and that makes life SO much easier.

    Thanks for the great post!
    Dayne

  • Marc, this is one of the most sensitive and simply expressed pieces that I have read in a long long while.

    I think we all develop a unique world view based on our genetic predisposition and our experience, which soon becomes a smooth groove in our ilfe. And it’s good to groove isn’t it?

    But that groove can quickly turn into a rut, and when you are in a rut, it is difficult if not impossible to see outside of it.

    So we need to try to see beyond our ourselves. We must somehow peek over the walls of the rut we have carved, to see others in the light that is unique to them.

    We need to suspend our personal world view long enough to discover the TRUE beauty in others. We must dig deeper in our judgement of others — and in that process, we will discover the beauty within ourselves.

    We will find the essence of humanity: the common pain and the common beauty — each in our own manner.

  • Loved the story.

    So many things…limiting-beliefs, self-doubt, judging, comparing, and even some hints of envy. It seems to be human nature by default to focus on all the things that we ‘perceive’ as weaknesses within ourselves.

    Being a guy I could easily remember some past situations thinking that “Oh her….yeah she’s the model type, probably too snobby.” Ah, the folly of youth.

  • this is a great story… a lot of the times we are our worst enemy. its true what they say..”there’s more than meets they eye”… at times we see people and think that they have it so easy but a lot of times we dont realize that they might not have it as easy as it seems…

  • Hey great story. I often think the same way this woman in your story does. Thanks for giving me something positive to think instead.

  • Wow, this is awesome… I am definitely one like this. I get a lot of weird looks sometimes, and even more when I talk about cars… So I always feel like the odd girl out. I have a feeling that if I had a bit more confidence, I wouldn’t have much of a problem fitting in, no matter how different I am…

  • this story gives you something to think about!

  • perception, it’s all perception … you never know what another person has been through …

  • […] An outstanding article: I Am My Own Worst Enemy […]

  • I really enjoyed this. I have been accused of this by myself and others. We really are our own worst critic, I wish it wasn’t so but it is what it is.

    P.S. I really enjoy this whole site and I often visit to use it as a pick me up and to enjoy life a little bit more. So Thank you!!

  • You are the only reason you are where you are. You have the ability to change your life by changing how you see yourself. Keep your mind focused on how to think positive and you will become your best friend instead of your worst enemy.

  • Very moving story…thanks for sharing!!

  • Interesting story! Really goes to say that we are our own greatest friends or enemies - depends on our mind. The way we look at the world around us determines how happy, sad or blissful we will be. Keep up the great work!

  • Agree with Stacey B, we can put ourselves up or down, no matter what.

  • I could not have read this at a more appropriate time. Having a crappy week and this made me realize things are not that bad. Perception is everything!

    I absolutely love your website! Thank you so much for healing the world with your articles :-)

  • Marc and Angel

    I agree with all the positive comments that came before mine. The use of your words captivates by allowing the mind to visually be apart of the scene. The tacit way in which you reveal the issue of self confidence was exquisite. Thank you for such a wonderful read.

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