I really love taking showers. It’s always that one opportunity I have to unwind, reflect, and plan my life. But, there’s always that moment when I’m showering and my thoughts take a dark turn.
In this case, I was suddenly brought back to my childhood insecurities. It was bizarre, because it was just me seeing the water trickle down my skin that just reminded me of the times when, instead of using black soap, I would try to erase my blackness with papaya soap. I remember trying to escape the water pouring from the shower-head as I tried to keep the suds on my skin for as long as possible. I remember looking at my naked body in the mirror after each shower to at least see if my skin had even lightened a fraction of a shade. And then the splotches came.
I thought it was so beautiful. Finally the brown was showing from under all of the darkness. I thought that this was my potential. Finally though, my mother asked me, “what’s wrong with your skin, why is it so patchy?”
I realized that I, a preteen, was disfiguring my skin. But I wanted so to be beautiful. I wanted to be like all of the other pretty and popular girls in my class, with their lighter skin and their straight hair. For me, the only thing I had was my hair. I’d even heard the guy I liked say that I he would have liked me if I were light skinned. I hated myself. I thought I would be so perfect, so beautiful if God hadn’t cursed me with this melanin.
It’s kind of funny to think that this kind of mentality had plagued me from the day I became aware of myself to my late teens, even now sometimes. Why is that? I’m proud to say that I’ve come quite a long way from those days, even if I have a ways to go. I mean, any twenty-something has issues with their bodies; but I have come to accept my beauty. I look in the mirror and I see a young woman with her future ahead of her. Her kinky-coily hair doesn’t quite flow, but it has its own elegant rhythm. Her dark skin, though uneven in places, glows healthily. Her cheekbones, inherited from her grandmother, rise. Her hips stand firm. Her eyes shine with determination and hope. She loves herself.