Hear Me Roar
Let me tell you this road to confidence hasn't been an easy one. I've gone from not loving myself at all to loving myself completely and wholeheartedly. Growing up beauty wasn't a thing I correlated with. I always felt uneasy about having dark skin. Clororism was a big thing growing up and being of a darker skintone, I was always the butt of everyone's jokes. I've been called everything from a burnt black biscuit to just dirty looking. These jokes always made me feel horrible. I would cry whenever I was alone, but infront of others I sometimes laughed along. Yup, I actually laughed at jokes told about myself to mask the pain I felt inside. I hated myself. And I hated how I looked even more. Often I would ask God why'd He have to make me this way. Like why couldn't I be the pretty red girl, with the long beautiful hair? I played with the idea of bleaching my skin, but I thought that would make me look more foolish and my mom would probably kill me. I was black and had to just deal with it.
At home, my mom who was also a dark skinned woman modeled a completely confident exterior. Nobody had to tell her she was beautiful. She just knew it and she didn'tcare who didn'tlike it. My mom walked around like she was God's gift to humanity. She carried her nickname "Black" like it was a symbol of gold. I never saw her offended by the thoughts of society. She was who she was and was proud about it. Displaying this sense of confidence she taught me I should love myself too, but somehow in the mix of things I didn't believe her. Media showed me something different and I chose to believe it. One of my favorite things to do after school was run home to watch the box on television. The box was a continuance of music videos played on cable tv. I loved watching these videos because I am a music lover. What I didn't love was the lack of women that resembled me on those videos. For the most part the women were extremely lighter and always beautiful. The complete opposite of me. This made me side eye my moma like sis why do you think you're beautiful when obviously these girls exemplify what beauty is. Although my mom pressed the issue and never conformed to society's idea of beautiful, I on the other hand couldn't believe her hype. I just thought she was trippin. I never thought my mom was ugly, but I knew the way she felt about herself was a little outlandish.
I spent most of my life with this belief system. As I got older the feelings grew stronger. Most of my friends were always of a lighter complexion. I never told my friends but I was given the self proclaimed title of "the ugly friend." I believed so many people talked to me only because of my friendships with those two light skinned girls I often dragged behind. At somepoint in my adult life my feelings started to change about myself. I started to feel a little more attractive but still not beautiful. I was always afraid to have a daughter because I never wanted her to feel even a little of what I felt growing up. I didn't want her to endure the ridicule of a dark skinned girl. But slowly and eventually something changed. All around me I started to see more and more beautiful dark skin women. Before what seemed like dark skinned women were portrayed in a negative light were now being exalted into a positive one. Beautiful black women were on the rise and I started to feel a little more beautiful myself. Not only did the beauty surrounding me cause me to fall in love with myself but, the idea of showing my daughter the confidence my mom showed me as well.
I knew I had to be the example for my daughter. She is infact beautiful and I never want her to feel otherwise. I never want her to feel like her black isn't beautiful or see her mom downing herself. I want to exemplify beauty to her and the ways to carry her beauty. If I spend my life masking my true self then what exactly would I be showing my daughter? This quest to love myself has taught me so much. I now appreciate the way my mom felt about herself. She was being that example for me that I must be that for my daughter. My mom was unappoligetically her! At 31 years old I finally feel like I can be unapologetically me.
The want to feel beautiful started out because of my daughter but somewhere along the way I began to want to do it for myself. I had to learn that everyone has opinions, but the opinions of others has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with me. God made me the way He wanted to. He didnt mess up, I was meant to be this way. Others might think like I once thought that there's no way you can be dark and beautiful, but when I look into my on reflection in the mirror I am reminded that I am beautiful. When I look into the eyes of my beautiful godiva chocolate princess I am reminded of how beautiful dark skin can be. I am black. I am beautiful. I am unapologetically woman. Hear me roar!