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As a black woman, it is an act or rebellion and revolution to love yourself.
It took me so long to look in the mirror and like the brown skinned, button nosed, gap-toothed girl I saw there. There were days when I avoided mirrors because I couldn’t handle what I saw there.
The world outside my house, and sometimes in it, told me how I looked, my natural aesthetic was not enough, it was I wasn’t pretty, light or hair straight enough. Compile that with a white girl name? Nall, nothing about me was right.
I began to love myself thanks to the adamant belief my mother fed me that I was enough, I was pretty, I was a formidable girl and should not be treated as anything less.
With my mother being the fashionista she is, she subscribed to Essence Magazine until I was Junior in High School. Seeing women and girls that looked like me? Amazing.
With the European aesthetic dominant, and nappy hair being a sin with relaxers and pressing combs present (oh, Lord! Little black girls and their hair!), in my childhood and well into my adulthood, gradually, I began to love the girl looking back at me.
I believe that every black girl has that search at least once. Where the world you are told you are a part of, whose destiny you are assigned, looks you in your melanin and tells you that you’re ugly, you don’t match what they want and you cannot even be considered “pretty” because nothing dark or black be pretty.
It started with my eyes. I thought my eyes were pretty because they are my mothers. And I thought she was pretty. There were pretty black girls in Essence, Seventeen and Y &M magazine.
I looked at my skin tone and compared it to light chocolate or a mocha mix. My lips? Thick and even better when I smiled. From accepting the black about me would not change, my view of it had to change. The world didn’t like my black, but celebrated tanning.
It wasn’t my color that was the problem, it was the world that had the issue with my color. That problem I made my own–and that problem made me hate something I could not change.
For a little black girl to hear she is beautiful, just as she is, in all her raw natural sugar form, is revolutionary. For a little black girl to see she is beautiful is powerful.
Beyond the fetish for her skin and hair.
Beyond the curiosity of her shape.
For a little black girl to seeshe is is beautiful herself, is life changing. One of the keys to help that is representation and affirmation.
Self-love is a radical act in a world that constantly tells you to change, when even the changes are not sufficient!
For a pretty black girl to love herself? She changes the world.