It must have been rough growing up.

June 21, 2006

That's what someone said to me today after complimenting me on how pretty my dark skin and features were to her. I wasn't insulted or even shocked. Just dumbstruck. But because she already made up her mind, didn't even really wait for a reply and just shook her head, I realized she couldn't have been further from the truth. But her 'where are you from?' questions to rationalize why I looked the way I did really stuck with me. I try not to put people in a box but sometimes we are all are guilty sometimes. She tried to explain my identity so she could understand why I looked the way I did. I have to force myself not feel sorry for disabled people who are completely fine with themselves.
However, her saying 'You must have had it rough growing up' comment showed me how her experiences in life must have been pretty tough if she couldn't comprehend a little dark, round girl having a childhood were she felt pretty and loved. I didn't have the urge to tell her my story of how I now look at pictures of my ponytails and thick glasses and cringe, but then I felt like the prettiest girl in the world with my day-after-Easter hair do's and white stirrups. I just wanted to hear her story and get a better view of life through her eyes. Thanks mom for telling me from the beginning I was a beautiful somebody. I just think about the little brown girls around the world who in 2007 still face people who think there is a thing of being 'too black.' Guess we have to fight it the only way we have so far. Manage to be beautiful and brown all at the same time.

*The pic is of me (the rollered alfafa in the middle) and my cousins. They are sisters - same mom and dad. And just like me and my brother show the beauty of our techno-colored family and break the mode of the complexion obsession of some.


  1. shani-o said...:

    As Maya always says... "You're a pretty little black girl."

  1. shara said...:

    she was just jelly... :)