It is hard out here for dark skinned girls–and I say this as girl who is not nearly as dark skinned as others. Everything about us is tested early and often. We get labeled quickly: ghetto, not smart, loud, wild, fast, mouthy, too black, too angry, too everything bad–and not enough of anything good. And God help you if your size is not coke bottle perfect. Then you become FAT, black, and ugly. And oh LORD! Let your hair not grow right. You are then regulated onto the file of nappy headed, black, and ugly.
It is a chip we carry on shoulders not meant to bear that type of weight. People literally suck the lightness of being out of you before you get a chance to be free. Every step becomes fighting other folks’ hatred off you. They hate themselves, sure, but there is also a distinct hatred of YOU. Like, how dare you be alive and try to thrive? It is spiritually devastating. When folks ought to be affirming you, they are tearing you up while you’re too young and too in need to defend yourself. So you carry that message, those scars with you well into adulthood. Spend all your time proving instead of just being.
I feel your pain. And I hope against hope that you have found a tribe that upholds and honors your beauty. BUT IF YOU HAVE NOT:
I love you. You are worthy of all my love and then some. You are beautiful–and I ain’t just talking about that smooth sun drenched skin that you walk around in. I ain’t just extoling the sharp unending curve of your hair. I mean to say that that you are beautiful because there is a light inside you that doesn’t need any validation. Despite the setups, setbacks, snide remarks, soft blows, swift kicks, stupid comments, sexually inappropriate words and actions all around you, that light has NEVER dimmed. You are gorgeous beyond time, and no amount of bullshit from anybody can ever change that. I see you. I see the rainbows shimmering in the depths of your smile, the stars twinkling in the corners of your eyes, the diamonds that sparkle inside your tears. You are stunning.
India.arie once sang a song that said, “I am not my hair/I am not my skin.” I think you are okay to be that and more. Embrace yourself–inner and outer beauty.