As an adult I realize the best things my mom ever did for me was not let me date until I was 16 and live her life fiercely. I realize a lot of issues women have with themselves and other women solely revolve around men, more specifically how men view them. Because I was not allowed to get serious with boys at a young age, my mom encouraged/forced me to get to know and love myself, and I did. To the point where a man’s opinion was a never a deciding factor in my life, aside from my father's. My mom was my icon for beauty. She was so confident and where ever we went people noticed her and complimented her. She was happy with herself and it radiated through her. I learned from a young age people are attracted to happy, confident people and I looked up to my mom.
The best thing my dad ever did was love me completely. Because of his love for me I knew I was worthy. Because he loved my mom so, I knew I was made from something beautiful to be a reflection of that beauty. That’s something I never questioned.
Every time I see the trailer for Dark Girls on OWN, I cringe a little. I am sure it is emotional and riveting and may impact the world for the better, but I am not interested. From what I’ve seen it appears to be dark girls/women revealing how hurt they are by black society’s rejection and how hard it is… I honestly don't know if I could sit through it. I’m torn only because I do not discount the hurt that many have undoubtedly endured, but I am not a victim. It's hard for me to understand how something I was raised to love could be viewed so negatively. I refuse to betray my beauty, value, and heritage with feelings of inferiority and inadequacy solely because of the hue of my skin. As a child I always adored the richness of my skin. I wear it as a badge of honor and a quilt of my rich heritage and ethnic background. I do not have low self esteem, I love the way I look. I do not feel inferior to a lighter complexioned person, nor do I equate beauty with light skin, light eyes, and hair. That’s just not my reality. On the flip side I am not at all bothered to compliment the beauty of some one with different features than me. I am just bothered that in 2013 this is still a conversation. I get tired of hearing it to be honest. This is not to say that people do not suffer because of how they look. I’ve seen it, and I’ve heard it. I’ve seen people make distinctions in their own family, among their own children and it’s nothing short of disgusting to me.
Thankfully my family and my culture is one of pride. My father is African my mom is Jamaican. Black is truly beautiful and celebrated and it’s not just something we say, it’s embodied in how we live. So I’ve NEVER felt insecure about my appearance. Beauty is beauty but it's so much deeper than the layers that color us. For those that choose to dwell on the surface, well that's what they will get, something very shallow. What I don’t want is for people to think all “dark girls” have self esteem issues or shrink in the presence of others. I love my friends of varying complexions, hair textures, and eye colors and I celebrate their beauty.
I will teach my daughter the same. Some one else’s beauty doesn’t diminish her own, nor is it a threat. Don’t expect everyone to find you attractive, and don’t surround yourself with people that are more concerned with your looks than your heart. Just focus on loving and living.
I hope we all can find healing and stop this nonsense.