I read a personal essay about a dark skinned woman that envied her light skinned friend. I found the article when researching different ways of describing Black women with lighter skin. Anyhow, this essay was so very important to me. One, it noted the banality of best friendships between dark skinned and light skinned women (something to consider when writing). Two, and more importantly, it spoke for me. The essay spoke for me and said something I had hardly admitted out loud unless I was holding private discourse.
It’s true, on a scale of one to ten, I am probably a steady five with pretty teeth. I went from lamenting in this fact as a high school student to reveling in it as a college dropout. I can’t be attractive, so I’ll be smart, witty, over sexualized, and hilarious. This worked for a long time until it didn’t. It worked until I had my first child and being the succubus I had grown to adore was no longer acceptable.
In transitioning from party girl to working mother, I had lost sight of the beauty I had learned to see in myself. Then all at once, during my self-examination, it occurred to me that what I once saw was superficial beauty. It was beauty I mainly found in my sexual parts. So I dug deeper.
Outside of having a dislike for my skin tone alone, I also had the misfortune of having non-European features. This would be a wide nose, broad forehead, and round cheeks. Now I’m seeing my color from a different perspective. Now I’m noticing that it’s okay to have such bold features with fair skin and dainty features with darker skin. This discernment caused the scale to further tip against me, or so I thought.
The more I researched the many different colors of the human race, the more I have learned that there is no such thing as non-Euro or otherwise African features; that long before America’s melting pot, there was Mother Africa in all of her diverse glory. So if it’s not my skin that makes me dreadfully unhappy with my appearance, then what is it?
Am I a victim of deep seeded self-loathing, a long term result of the Lynch Letter? It’s possible. Is what I am experiencing closer to self awareness rather than self hate or self pity? That could be it as well.
Is there anything wrong with knowing that you didn’t win the gene lottery and yet you are still priceless? I don’t think so.
I think if I am able to feel like it’s okay to not look like a sun kissed goddess but still feel like a million bucks then where does that leave me? I’m not sure but it’s the closest to resolute that I have ever been.
It’s funny because I believe my children are terribly beautiful. There was a time when I had a hard time believing that they came from me. I don’t want them to feel inferior based on their appearance which is why it’s even more important for me to find the answers.