Dark skin has always been viewed in a very negative light. Globally, dark skin is seen as ugly or a threat.

 

As a young black girl growing up here in Texas, I was constantly teased about being dark. It was very damaging to my self-esteem as a child. I mean people said a number of hurtful things to me. Here’s a short list of the most common:

  1. Anytime I came back to school from summer vacation, I would be called “Casper.” Why? Because I was “too dark.” I would hate the end of summer. I loved playing outside and feeling the sun on my skin. But once school started, I knew I was going to face the jokes. I was not mentally prepared for it.
  2. People would say that I was adopted because my mother is a light-skinned woman and I am her dark-skinned child. At one point, I actually believed it. This moment in my life was not easy. I questioned my mom if I was adopted. She explained to me that black peoples come in all shades. Also, she was married to my daddy (a dark-skinned man) and procreated with him. His genes are dominant, hence the color of my skin.
  3. Boys literally would not give me the time of day because I was not light skinned. WHEW. They were allllllll about the lighter skinned girls, biracial girls, or white girls. But me? I was only “homegirl” material. Yeah we can be FRIENDS, but to be seen dating me? Oh no. And they didn’t outwardly say it. Their actions and preference said it all for them. Their attraction was strictly geared towards women that were not dark.

Imagine carrying that burden from childhood to early adulthood every single day. Then imagine believing it. That was me. That was my mindset for so long because it was ingrained in my mind that I was ugly. I truly believed it. I never thought I was pretty. I didn’t believe my skin was beautiful. My personality is naturally dominant so although I seemed confident and sure of myself for so long, deep down inside I was hurting and self-hating.

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Finally, at the end of my freshman year of college, it clicked for me. I took a hard look at myself in the mirror and studied everything I saw. My skin. My physique. My hair. My clothes. I asked myself why I never saw myself in this way before. I realized that I was beautiful. My skin color was beautifully and wonderfully made. Who was I to walk on this earth and, with each breath God gave me, I used it to say I was ugly? Why? How dare I walk and say that what God made was ugly? That lit a fire in me. Not only did step into my beauty and acknowledged it, others started to notice too. Within months, I transformed! My confidence soared and reached new heights. I was finally comfortable.

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Now, it’s a slap in the face in what I see on social media today. Although I am very happy about the recognition that dark-skinned women are finally receiving, it’s still a slap in the face. Dark skin should not be “popular” now, but it is. However, with this newfound attention, more children that are of darker skin can be uplifted in knowing how beautiful their skin is. There is a reason why Brown Skin Girl by Beyoncé* is so extremely important. The lyrics “Brown skin girl/Ya skin just like pearls” means so much. Our skin is like pearls. It’s coveted. No matter how much negativity is received about dark skinned girls, in some way people are still trying to achieve what we naturally have 

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IN CONCLUSION, I want you to take away a few things. One, colorism is real and it is still rampant. If you are participating in it, try unlearning it and flip that negativity into uplifting your fellow brother/sister. Two, black/brown skin of ALL shades is beautiful. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Finally, if you can relate to the pain that I felt growing and are still experiencing it now, I want you to know that you are beautiful. You are wonderfully made. You are God’s most precious creation.

 

 

Share your comments below. If you are not following me already on my socials check out the links on my “About Me” page.

 

Talk to y’all soon!

 

Genuinely,

Gabby

 

*If you haven’t watched Black Is King on Disney+, it is an absolute beautiful piece of work that EVERYONE should experience.

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5 thoughts on “Growing Up Dark-Skinned”

  1. Wow, being someone with crippling self esteem theres so much to unpack here! your experience is something I could never compare myself too, but even still thank you for writing this. I think the journey to loving ourselves is incredibly hard and even harder for others and it should be acknowledged. Also I think you are absolutely stunning.

  2. so beautifully said! Every. Single. Word. I remember how confident you were back at UNT and you helped me get out of my shell. Ill never forget when you came up to me at that lunch table outside of UNT. and was like “hey we’re sitting with you :)” .I was sitting all by myself lonely as ever being at college with no friends really. And then your kindness and obvious love for other people was like a light in my life. Im not sure if you remember all this, but I did 🙂 Love you girl!!

  3. Girl this was such a touching post and I can definitely relate to some parts of this post! I definitely had moments when I was younger where I wanted to be lighter and it was all due to things I witnessed in society etc. I’m glad that as I’ve grown up, I’ve grown to love the skin I’m in. This was an amazing post and read❤️

  4. Having a light skinned sister this is something i experienced alot. even within my own family. i had a great aunt tell me to my face that she considered me the “dark one” and thats how she referenced me in conversation for a few years.

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