“If it was so honorable and glorious to be black, why was it the yellow-skinned people among us had so much prestige?”
– Zora Neale Hurston
When did it start…
If I toss a coin it had to start with either music videos or regular TV so maybe it was a combination. I can’t pin point when it happened. I just know that whenever I imagined myself I was always lighter than what I actually, my hair was always long and wavy not too much curl though. In music videos especially in the early 2000’s (although its way worse now) the focal video girl was always light-skinned the Lauren London types (love her btw) and I try to immolate the idea I though lighter girls portrayed. In my mind at young aged I picked on the negative connotations darker girls in the media always were stuck with. They were usually angry, aggressive, loud, even poor. So why would I want to be anything associated with that. I hit a point where there was absolutely nothing I found attractive about myself. The hair on my head annoyed me, my skin complexion bothered me, my shape just wasn’t cutting it. I would like to blame my problems with my skin complexion on high school but it started so much before that. I was aware that I was darker than majority of the black kids I knew and I was aware that lighter girls got more attention than girls that looked like me. That lead me to resentment.
I picked these pictures specifically because those were the ages that I was the most conscious and uncomfortable in my skin. Although I am serving looks in my cheer leading fit on Halloween circa 2004.
Hard Times Leads to Low Moments
In the 9th grade, November 19, 2011, it was a Sunday I think because I caught the train the very next day. Well that is the day I cut all of my hair off I had maybe an inch of hair or just under. I went to Wal-Mart around 8:30 and once the hairdresser cut it all off I cried my eyes out. I wanted to be natural but I wasn’t ready yet. Looking back I am so grateful I just threw myself into it. 15-year-old me was shattered completely my ego was shaken.
“Hair is associated with beauty in my eyes and to have that comfort anymore. To me that made me feel like I wasn’t beautiful.”
I was just there. People did talk about me for cutting my hair but I had somewhat of a strong front because the people who did tease me were the same people doing it for years. I heard it all about my cookie bush from calling it overgrown pubic hairs to calling it a “three-week old Boosie fade”. It affected me not because I disliked my hair but I felt out-of-place I was sticking out too much and for any 15-year-old freshmen the absolute last thing you want to do is stick out. So I broke down, I lost control over my emotions. My friends upgraded to better weaves and I was stuck with this baby bush. Every night when everyone was asleep I cried my eyes out silently. I felt like I made a terrible mistake. I was supposed to be glow up from 8th grade but instead I took two big steps back.
I developed this big idea, braid it up and don’t look back. That’s how we got to the 2nd picture on the slide show. Tumblr is all to blame for my self-esteem. India Love look-a-likes were abundant and that was the look of the time. Foreign girls were in and my black behind was out. Not to mention my friend were all bright with colored eyes and I often just felt like the DUFF. They never made me feel like the odd ball out but I felt like it and in order for me to grow into my own and feel more secure in myself I had to distance myself. Being alone is the hard part but I could chill by myself and have a good time any day from that experience. I’m completely comfortable with myself I could say. I got closer to who I was during the time I had away from my friends. Complexion wasn’t something I pawned over everywhere I went it was almost as if it was the first thing on my mind. Competition was always what black girl was in the room that was lighter than me and how could I be better than her. It wasn’t healthy and it still isn’t.
Unfortunately, darker girls still feel this way. I still have times where I feel this way but I snap out of it.
I found this spoken word on YouTube late one night and it’s so amazing to me. She’s such a beautiful speaker. Her words speak to me and I felt like I related to her personal story. Definitely check her out the actual channel name is Afro Intellect and I can’t find her name anywhere but this is her You Tube channel.
Grow Though It
There will be days where as dark you feel attacked on social media. It may even seem like you’re the bottom of the barrel. Right now we are in a way but you need to know that if you love you enough they can’t and will never hurt you enough.
When you see tweets like these….
Realize that this is a few group of ignorant people who hide behind keyboards. You aren’t that you’re much more. Arguing with stupidity is like arguing to a tree that’s been cut. Something was there but its gone now. You are the tree that will keep growing.
So remember you are beautiful everyday won’t be great and people say ignorant things. But know this don’t expect anymore or any less from an ignorant person.