Have you ever been told, “you are pretty for a dark-skinned girl…”? Well, I have and as a young girl this comment took me by surprise the first time I heard it (unfortunately, it wasn’t the last) …like, what does that mean? I wouldn’t be pretty any other way? Are dark-skinned girls not pretty? I always had more male friends than female friends so, I then began to question other things…is that why I’m always the homegirl? Is it really because I’m dark-skinned?
I was something like a tom boy (prior to H.S.) so, I climbed trees, hopped gates, played with worms, scrapped my knees, etc. The boys that were interested…I was almost like a “kept secret” …praised me behind closed doors (lets keep in mind this was during middle school) but didn’t outwardly show the same attention…or at least I didn’t notice. I remember this guy from Harlem told me he didn’t date dark-skinned girls and he was darker than me! The nerve…his attitude and his outlook on the beauty of others made him unattractive to me.
I was in eighth grade the first time I got my nails done. I had a dance recital so, I also got my hair done, put on a skirt and felt beautiful. It’s crazy how “materials’ can make us feel beautiful. It’s also amazing how words can affect how we preceive ourselves. The words of others can affect how we feel about ourselves so, we must be careful with the things that we say to people because it can affect their lives in a bigger way than you could ever imagine.
One summer after eighth grade this boy made me feel beautiful by his words…and guess what? He wasn’t afraid to tell people that he admired me…he wasn’t afraid to tell people that I was his girlfriend…he wasn’t afraid to tell people how beautiful my skin was…how beautiful I was…I gained a new type of confidence. I started to look myself in the mirror and claim my beauty. Not only because of the things he said (of course my family always told me that I was beautiful) but because I started to appreciate myself and my flaws. I still work on accepting my flaws as an adult, but I’ve come along way, lol. That’s another blog post…another day, lol.
I realized that I am beautiful inside and out…I’m smart, I am strong, I’m ambitious, I am resilient, I’m loyal, I’m trustworthy, I’m respectful (but watch it because I give respect until I feel disrespected and then you will get a dose of your own medicine) …and at the end of the day, I am BEAUTIFUL. I am a self-proclaimed beautiful chocolate QUEEN. My skin doesn’t define me, but my skin is amazing. “I got that up north glow, body looking like cinnamon…” (By Remy Ma) …when I hear this song, I get hyped…my skin is popping! (I’m laughing because when my kids read this they will laugh because I said, popping, lol.)
As I matured, I began to realize the value in my skin…sheesh, people pay to have darker skin. However, there is still an issue in some cases when it comes to dark beauty. People tend to praise the lighter skin tones and not shine light on the darker tones. All people are beautiful and it’s important that we all find beauty in ourselves and not allow the opinions, suggestions, comments of others define who we are. We must get away from the mindset that there is a “perfect” skin tone. I teach my children the value in their skin, their hair, and everything that makes them unique, valued, loved and beautiful.
As an adult, I was sent a man that would admire and adore my skin. I’m happy to call him my husband (of 14 years now), by his examples and how I carry myself our little men love my beauty. I started this post after having a conversation about skin…and because it’s still a topic today. This is just a little taste of my thoughts behind the subject, but I want to end this post by saying, be careful what you say to people…be careful how you react to people because of their skin…be mindful of the comments we make about beauty. We can give people a complex about something that they never knew to have a problem with…something that they never thought to question. We have to teach our youth the value they have…not to compare themselves to others, and to love one another regardless of their skin tone.
“…Brown skin, you know I love your brown skin
I can’t tell where yours begins, I can’t tell where mine ends
Brown skin, up against my brown skin
Need some every now and then, oh hey
Skin so brown, lips so round
Baby how can I be down?
Beautiful mahogany, you make me feel like a queen
Tell me what’s that thing you do that makes me want to get next to you, yeah…” (By India Arie)