Most of my childhood was spent in the 80’s. I vividly remember a time when I could count on one hand how often in a solid week I’d see a Black woman on my tv screen. There was Kim Fields on Facts of Life, Jane Kennedy’s random appearances, and Janet Jackson on her seldom appearances on Different Strokes. That was it. It’s remarkable how that feeds into a child’s psyche. When you are not represented in media it subconsciously makes you feel of less worth and value.
I was not that girl. I was not the cute girl. While I attended roughly a different school each year of my childhood, I fluctuated between being the average girl in the all Black class, or the unseen and ugly girl in the all White or Hispanic class. I’d never heard the words you’re pretty until I was 13 when my step grandfather married into my family. It’s amazing how a girl will seek that validation in all kinds of unhealthy forms when she doesn’t get it from home. That little girl if not changed becomes the grown woman who will do the same.
Now today I have friends and associates that look like a whole lot of different things. There are beautiful traits among all women, across race, skin tone, body size, etc. I can appreciate the beauty of others as I always have. But I am also big on celebrating Black beauty as it has always been the one of least attention, if given any place at all. However I find it interesting this interesting turn of events currently playing out before me. I’m finding that I have some help in the area of beauty that I didnt see coming. As I age I’m finding that I’m doing so gracefully. It appears that melanin, (the pigmentation in dark skin), serves as a shelter for youthfullness. It’s unbelievable to me how often I’m mistaken for the age of someone whom I could have birthed. Almost as if God Himself is rewarding those who were vilified in the same area of their rejection.
So for all those little girls out there who, like I did, feel overlooked and not pretty as, it may not mean much now, but when you’re 50 and they mistake you for 34, you will be grateful for your coffee, mocha latte, caramel and frappuccino tone. So rise out of your self loathing and know that you are among many things, beautiful… and really young looking. 😉