Alicia Keys recently let her fans in on a personal secret she’d been struggling with since her youth. In a blog post titled "A Revelation," the 34-year-old singer admitted to wanting to hide herself after her talents, body and intellect were causing attention that made her feel uncomfortable.
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve hidden myself,” Keys wrote. “It might have started in school when I realized that I caught on to things a little quicker, and teachers started to show slight favor to me, or use me as an example. I remember feeling like my friends would make fun of me or look at me as if I was different from them and so… I started hiding. Not intentionally, I didn’t mean to, but I did. Little pieces at a time.”
This then went on to her physical appearance when men on the streets would lust after her and make comments on her looks, which led her toward a tomboy style just so men wouldn’t come after her.
“I definitely started hiding when I got old enough to walk down my NY streets alone. I started to notice a drastic difference in how men would relate to me if I had on jeans, or if I had on a skirt, or if my hair was done pretty. I could tell the difference, I could feel the animal instinct in them and it scared me,” she continued. “I didn’t want to be talked to in that way, looked at in that way, whistled after, followed. And so I started hiding. I chose the baggy jeans and Timbs, I chose the ponytail and hat, I chose no makeup, no bright color lipstick or pretty dresses. I chose to hide. Pieces at a time. Less trouble that way.”
This continued even when she started making a name for herself as an artist. She took on the tough persona with the baggy clothes and braids as a way of protecting herself. Unfortunately, this was followed by rumors about her sexuality, with some saying she was gay. So she went the other way — wearing dresses and playing with different hairstyles — in an attempt to balance her image out. Still, she was as confused as ever on who the real Alicia Keys could truly be.
“To this day, every time I get out of the shower to get dressed, I swear the first thought that comes into my head is, what can I wear that won’t cause too much attention when I go pick up Egy, or head to the store, or go shopping, or visit a friend, etc. And just the other day it hit me! OMG! Alicia!!! Why are you choosing to be that person?? That is so old and outdated!! STOP!!” she wrote.
“I don’t have to hide anymore, I don’t have to pretend and hold back, I don’t have to think that my intelligence, beauty and sensuality are intimidating to others. Who cares??!!! I don’t have to think my silliness, clumsiness, or Hallmark card optimism is something I can’t be proud of! Who cares????!!!!”
Good on her for learning that there’s no way you can fit into every crowd, please every person in your life or hide pieces of yourself out of fear of being recognized.
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