For a very long time, maybe even most of my teenage years I hated myself. I didn’t just not appreciate my beauty. I didn’t understand it because it wasn’t appreciated by everyone. Therefore I deemed this lack of appreciation to be a representation of it’s flawed nature. So yeah, hate is a strong word but it’s an accurate depiction of how I felt. I can even remember times where I would look myself in the mirror and cry. I questioned if God truly loved me because I didn’t understand how he could because he created me the way I was. Some may ask, what did I hate? I hated the tone of my skin, it was too dark. I hated the size of my forehead, it was too big. I hated the colour of my lips they weren’t pink enough. I hated my cheeks because they were too fat.
My season of insecurity was a long one and it was quite infectious. My family tried so hard to help me recognise my beauty. They even tried to initiate interventions where people will tell me how beautiful I was. Everyone always complimented my beauty. Well, my family, friends and church family. But I only remembered the negative thoughts I fed myself and the negative words I had heard regarding dark skin. And that takes me to the premise of this post.
I was watching one of my guilty pleasures “BkChat London” and the topic was on the basis of preference in terms of the skin tone of your significant other. Now, that episode was not even bad. However it triggered the recall of memories. When I was younger, the things that I use to hear about dark skinned women not men but women were horrendous. They were said flippantly but they were so damaging. Have you heard the saying that you can be told 10,000 compliments but one criticism can be the one thing you remember? Or did I just make that up? Either way, all the beautiful things that friends, family and even God said to me over the years were in the subconscious whereas the nasty perceptions and statements were fixated in my conscious for years.
There are many factors that can be considered to provide an explanation for this perverse perception. The perception that dark skin is ugly and filthy. However, I think one of which is the distorted reality that society chooses to paint. From the lack of representation of dark skinned women either in a positive light or at all in the media, the horrendous range of makeup tones where there is literally 50 shades of beige and one universal shade of chocolate. There are so many layers to this phenomenon of colourism. However, I think the one that hurts the most is self-hate. Where black people begin to put down their fellow black counterparts based on the tone of their skin. In my opinion, I don’t think you have the right to have an issue with racism if you are a promoter of colourism. Over the years I have realised that I am an advocate against prejudice behaviour. I hate it! The act of judging someone based on stereotypes and generalisations makes my skin crawl. And I will do whatever I can to help alleviate this issue, whether it be in my friendship circles, my family or whoever I do life with. But I digress! There are so many things I have to say about this issue because it is something dear to my heart.
Nonetheless, I can say with pride and confidence that I am a dark skinned lady and I love it. I have transitioned from wanting to bleach my skin to actually wanting a tan. I love my skin and I care more about healthy skin and getting rid of blemishes than the tone in itself because that is what matters most. I love the fact that melanin has certain colours that cause it to pop even more one of which being mustard! I love dark skin but most importantly I love all spectrums of skin tone.
But to all my dark skin sisters, maybe my little sisters or even my older sisters who are struggling with loving their skin. My message to you is:
You are beautiful, your beauty should not be found only in what you see when you look at yourself in the mirror. It should be what you see within. Invest in your personality because when you learn to love yourself enough to develop a good character you learn to love who you are, who you are becoming and appreciate the beauty that you are created to be. Your beauty is not defined by society, it is not defined by your friends and family, it is not even defined by you. It is defined by your creator and he says that you are:
fearfully and wonderfully made – Psalm 139:14
If God “fearfully” and “wonderfully” created something and it turned out to be “ugly”. I think we have a bigger problem at hand. And that problem is that he evidently isn’t God because he fails to achieve perfection as well as achieve what he sets out to.
So please, learn to love yourself. Because nobody else can do it for you. It’s not an easy journey but it is a journey worth preserving through.
I am not done with this topic, this is only the icing on top of the cake. But the take home message, is love who you are and don’t allow somebody elses ignorance to cause you to think less or look down on yourself. I did it before and I will never do it again.
I hope you were encouraged by this post. If you were, subscribe for more.
Stay tuned and stay blessed,