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Alicia Keys Opens Up About Her Struggle With Street Harassment

The singer reveals she used to hide herself by dressing like a 'tomboy.'

She may have five albums, 15 Grammys, and one heck of a cute family to her name, but even Alicia Keys has faced her fair share of self-esteem issues.

In a revealing new blog post entitled “Revelation,” Keys opens up about her journey toward self-acceptance, detailing her struggle to embrace her femininity.

From a young age, Keys explains, she used to get a lot of attention from men because of her curvy figure. Echoing a feeling many women are unfortunately faced with, Keys recalls how men would catcall her on the streets of New York, which made her nervous to draw any more attention to herself than was necessary. So early on in her career, she started wearing long braids and baggy jeans, embracing a “tomboy” style that allowed her to deflect unwanted advances.

"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," Keys wrote. "I could tell the difference, I could feel the animal instinct in them, and it scared me. 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.”

Putting on a tougher persona, though, made people quick to judge her, and she soon started being confronted with rumors about her sexuality.

“Then, because of the way I spoke or carried myself, people started calling me gay and hard and I wasn't gay, but I was hard and although I felt comfortable there, it made me uncomfortable that people were judging me and so slowly I hid that side of myself,” she explained.

Keys says she started changing her appearance when she began to be recognized as an artist. She slowly started putting feminine touches into her style, but that turned out to be just as confusing — for the rest of the world AND even for herself.

“I put on dresses and didn't braid my whole head up, so people could see more of the 'real' me, even though at that point I'm sure I was more confused than ever of what the real me was,” she wrote.

Now, Keys explained, she’s done hiding her body and repressing the qualities that make her an extraordinary woman.

“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,” she wrote. “I don't have to think my silliness, clumsiness, or Hallmark card optimism, is something I can't be proud of! Who cares????!!!!

Keys tweeted out the link to her inspirational blog post that featured a photo of herself channeling Muhammad Ali, as well a reference to her new YOLO-inspiring anthem “28,000 Days.”

“I only got 28,000 of those days,” she finished her blog entry. “So what the F-- am I waiting for??”