Why It’s Hard to Love the Skin You’re In

I’m sure many African Americans can attest to having two sides of being dark skinned. One side tells us we should be proud of the skin we’re in and see it for what it’s worth, and the other side influences us that our skin is something to be ashamed of.

Let me tell you a story.

As a child, I was picked on for two things in school. One of them was my color. My classmates used to call me names for years and it destroyed my self worth. Children my. Shade. Ruthlessly barked whatever they could to get me down. After a decade of enduring that, I fell down a hole. A deep, and.. well, dark hole.

It’s a struggle being young, impressionable, and dark in school. It’s a struggle having other black people beat you down because you’re not of the lighter variety. Because of the lack of light tone, you’re less desirable. You’re ugly, you’re dirty, you’re disgusting. In middle school and high school I was constantly belittled, hammering in my inferiority of myself.

My family always assured me otherwise. My mother nurtured against that hurt and hate while my father shared his experiences. I related to my old man because he dealt with the same things I did. And it made me feel better.

These feelings has led me to create this piece.

blackgoldfa
Inspired by Esperanza Spalding’s song, This is how I should feel. Valued like Black Gold.

For twenty one years I’ve thought this way. It’s so self destructive and it has to stop.

My feelings of myself can’t change completely overnight. I’ll still struggle, however I am so proud to say that I’ve clawed out of that hole. No more feeling ashamed. No more wishing to be a lighter tone. My skin is my. Skin. It’s gorgeous as hell, and I’ll be damned if I let any other thought cross my mind. I’ll wear bright colors, because I can. I’ll wear bright eye shadow because my skin glows as a result. And with every dark boy, girl and every gender in between that suffered the same thing I did, I want them to appreciate themselves much sooner than I had.

I came across a great video. This highlights not only my experiences of being African American, but also darker people from other cultures and races.  Give it a watch.

So please, talk to people about it. Feel some pride. Your skin is gorgeous, and beautiful just the way it is. You’re flawless in your own right.

These mix of emotions and backstory has inspired me to create a series called “Black Gold”. Celebrating natural beauty, natural bodies, and loving the skin you’re in.

Comment below if you want to see your favorite animal represented!

Thank you so much for reading. Until next time.

~PK

5 thoughts on “Why It’s Hard to Love the Skin You’re In

  1. Your hurt friend was in your skin, for me, in my name. For my surname is not something nice. It has plagued my family for at least 200 years, ever since the revolutionary war with England really. And I hope that by this revelation, I might be able to explain to you what you already know. Your skin color was not at the heart of the problem. Just as my last name is not at the heart of the problem.

    The heart of the problem is the heart of the problem, that being humanity’s hard heart.

    Our hard hearts start to show as children, when we start to make fun of others. Why do we do it? I feel it is fear, fear that if we don’t do unto others first, they will do unto us. So we lash out proactively, hoping we can control our neighbors actions before they try to hurt us. The sad thing is, that we are all terribly afraid of being different, of being unique, for this makes us easy to single out. (But this is where our beauty is…) And your dark skin was something most unique, I am sure. So was my last name…

    I was constantly made fun of, laughed at, embarrassed. Anytime I said or did something somebody did not like or anytime I showed even the slightest vulnerability, well the insults about my last name would come. I may not have had to wear my difference like you did, but know me more than five minutes and you knew how to hurt me deeply.

    I use to hate my last name, swore to God that when I was 18, I should legally change it. To finally live free of it, yes, this was to obtain perfection. I spent large amounts of time trying to think of the perfect last name, one that no one would ever be able to make fun of.

    And it dawned on me. There simply is no last name that can’t be slurred somehow to become something mean.

    The problem was not with my name or anything about my external form. From my skin color to my name to any other external detail, I knew that I would be easy to hurt by those seeking to hurt me. For the problem is in the human heart and doubly so.

    For what is it in ourselves that brings us to say shameful things? Does it not first start with thought? Any evil thought comes from the core of who we are and how badly we feel. The human heart tends to evil and must constantly be watched.

    Truly Christ said that what goes into a man’s mouth cannot defile him, but what comes out of his mouth can. When one eats something, it passes without corrupting the person. Ah, but when one says something, this is where corruption forms. For the human mouth is directly connected to the human heart. It is here that evil thoughts come from and translate into evil words and evil actions.

    But more than that, why was my human heart vulnerable? Why did I need acceptance of the petty children around me who were so afraid of being made fun of themselves? So afraid that they lashed out at every opportunity to harm me, every time I was the least bit vulnerable or spoke up in anyway against something they were doing or not doing. Why was their petty approval so important- and their petty disapproval so damning?

    Why did I want their approval in the first place?

    And therein lies the real problem. Why is the approval of man so important to us?

    For that is the truest question of all. Why does the petty, laughable praise or the petty, laughable condemnation of another human matter to us? I do not speak of the opinions of those who love us and truly matter to us, but of some petty, messed up child that was likely far more screwed up than we will ever be?

    There friend, there you learn a secret about you- and how to be free of petty judgments. For we humans, we are vain. We focus upon ourselves, our image and we judge our worth by the silly vanities of others, rather than the measuring stick of God, God who made us beautifully unique.

    I should be most curious to see your picture, to see just how pretty you really are. I bet you are an attractive young woman, one that makes the heart of male’s skip a beat.

    But always remember friend, never put stock in what people think of you, good or bad. For here there is a snare guaranteed to trip you up and choke about your throat to the point of death. Seek those with love in their hearts and ask them to critique, ask them for praise, for then they shall not vainly try to impress you so they can get close to someone they admire.

    I see this as a great snare for you friend, as your artistic fame builds. People will appeal to your vanity, seek to charm you, because now they see the beauty of your difference- and they wish to share in it. For if you are special, than by association, so are they.

    And do you know who they are?

    They are the same people that use to make fun of you.

    Do not misunderstand, I don’t think you should not enjoy the praise and fame that your art may bring to you. But if you take that too far, if this praise and fame become too important to you- they become your god. And what a sadly pathetic thing is a god made of the praises of men.

    This is what you see every famous person chasing after in this world. More praise, more fame, more worship of god of human vanity. There is a most interesting magazine even called, Vanity Fair. It is a collection of what petty humans call beauty, value, worth.

    It was a book originally written by a man who said that each person in their life must make a journey through the Vanity Fair. At this Fair, are the many games of self focus we humans enjoy. There are so many different games to play at the Vanity Fair. And it is guaranteed that one, if not several, of the games in this Fair shall appeal deeply to you.

    The only way to move on from the Vanity Fair is to not engage in vanity in the first place. For it is vanity that gave those children in your past the ability to hurt you. And it is vanity that shall give those same children, now grown up, the ability to vainly make you feel oh so good.

    But it won’t last too long and it shall always leave you dying for more. And that’s the Vanity Fair, a Fair we must all pass through -and decide to leave- if we ever hope to be free of the curses of those school children that so hurt us in the past.

    Again, that is not to say you should never accept praise! For you are indeed a talented artist friend and I have the haunting suspicion that you are a most beautiful young woman too. But guard well your vanity, for the praises of our fellow man are short lived. They are also a terrible snare, driving us to ever greater vanities.

    One only has to look to Hollywood for such an example as that.

    I really just wanted to say that I understand you, how you thought, how you felt… most clearly how you felt… And I hope I connect with how you think now. Because I was so hurt by the same children as you. And I am ashamed now to say I was very good at comebacks, very good at hurting as I had been hurt. It was tit for tat. They hit with tat; I struck back with tit.

    (There’s a couple of fur characters in there somewhere, perhaps. Brother and sister maybe? Lol, sorry, my mind wanders sometimes. Tit for Tat just makes me think of two petty siblings, lol.)

    My final point is that I suspect that all that pain has made you into a most gracious person, one that feels deeply the problems of others. I see you moving beyond the pain now and I wish to congratulate you. But fear deeply friend the praises of your fellow humans. DO not let them appeal too deeply to your vanity, unless you know and trust the source. Praise from the majority of your fellow humans will lead you down as deeply hurtful paths as those you felt when petty children made fun of your skin color.

    You have my best wishes for your art and for you personally, as well as your health and continued success in whatever field you find your endeavors in

    Most Sincerely,

    Anthony Ficton

    (Anthony Ficton is my pen name, not my given or surname. It is my non de plume, so to speak.)

  2. Your hurt friend was in your skin, for me, in my name. For my surname is not something nice. It has plagued my family for at least 200 years, ever since the revolutionary war with England really. And I hope that by this revelation, I might be able to explain to you what you already know. Your skin color was not at the heart of the problem. Just as my last name is not at the heart of the problem.

    The heart of the problem is the heart of the problem, that being humanity’s hard heart.

    Our hard hearts start to show as children, when we start to make fun of others. Why do we do it? I feel it is fear, fear that if we don’t do unto others first, they will do unto us. So we lash out proactively, hoping we can control our neighbors actions before they try to hurt us. The sad thing is, that we are all terribly afraid of being different, of being unique, for this makes us easy to single out. (But this is where our beauty is…) And your dark skin was something most unique, I am sure. So was my last name…

    I was constantly made fun of, laughed at, embarrassed. Anytime I said or did something somebody did not like or anytime I showed even the slightest vulnerability, well the insults about my last name would come. I may not have had to wear my difference like you did, but know me more than five minutes and you knew how to hurt me deeply.

    I use to hate my last name, swore to God that when I was 18, I should legally change it. To finally live free of it, yes, this was to obtain perfection. I spent large amounts of time trying to think of the perfect last name, one that no one would ever be able to make fun of.

    And it dawned on me. There simply is no last name that can’t be slurred somehow to become something mean.

    The problem was not with my name or anything about my external form. From my skin color to my name to any other external detail, I knew that I would be easy to hurt by those seeking to hurt me. For the problem is in the human heart and doubly so.

    For what is it in ourselves that brings us to say shameful things? Does it not first start with thought? Any evil thought comes from the core of who we are and how badly we feel. The human heart tends to evil and must constantly be watched.

    Truly Christ said that what goes into a man’s mouth cannot defile him, but what comes out of his mouth can. When one eats something, it passes without corrupting the person. Ah, but when one says something, this is where corruption forms. For the human mouth is directly connected to the human heart. It is here that evil thoughts come from and translate into evil words and evil actions.

    But more than that, why was my human heart vulnerable? Why did I need acceptance of the petty children around me who were so afraid of being made fun of themselves? So afraid that they lashed out at every opportunity to harm me, every time I was the least bit vulnerable or spoke up in anyway against something they were doing or not doing. Why was their petty approval so important- and their petty disapproval so damning?

    Why did I want their approval in the first place?

    And therein lies the real problem. Why is the approval of man so important to us?

    For that is the truest question of all. Why does the petty, laughable praise or the petty, laughable condemnation of another human matter to us? I do not speak of the opinions of those who love us and truly matter to us, but of some petty, messed up child that was likely far more screwed up than we will ever be?

    There friend, there you learn a secret about you- and how to be free of petty judgments. For we humans, we are vain. We focus upon ourselves, our image and we judge our worth by the silly vanities of others, rather than the measuring stick of God, God who made us beautifully unique.

    I should be most curious to see your picture, to see just how pretty you really are. I bet you are an attractive young woman, one that makes the heart of male’s skip a beat.

    But always remember friend, never put stock in what people think of you, good or bad. For here there is a snare guaranteed to trip you up and choke about your throat to the point of death. Seek those with love in their hearts and ask them to critique, ask them for praise, for then they shall not vainly try to impress you so they can get close to someone they admire.

    I see this as a great snare for you friend, as your artistic fame builds. People will appeal to your vanity, seek to charm you, because now they see the beauty of your difference- and they wish to share in it. For if you are special, than by association, so are they.

    And do you know who they are?

    They are the same people that use to make fun of you.

    Do not misunderstand, I don’t think you should not enjoy the praise and fame that your art may bring to you. But if you take that too far, if this praise and fame become too important to you- they become your god. And what a sadly pathetic thing is a god made of the praises of men.

    This is what you see every famous person chasing after in this world. More praise, more fame, more worship of god of human vanity. There is a most interesting magazine even called, Vanity Fair. It is a collection of what petty humans call beauty, value, worth.

    It was a book originally written by a man who said that each person in their life must make a journey through the Vanity Fair. At this Fair, are the many games of self focus we humans enjoy. There are so many different games to play at the Vanity Fair. And it is guaranteed that one, if not several, of the games in this Fair shall appeal deeply to you.

    The only way to move on from the Vanity Fair is to not engage in vanity in the first place. For it is vanity that gave those children in your past the ability to hurt you. And it is vanity that shall give those same children, now grown up, the ability to vainly make you feel oh so good.

    But it won’t last too long and it shall always leave you dying for more. And that’s the Vanity Fair, a Fair we must all pass through -and decide to leave- if we ever hope to be free of the curses of those school children that so hurt us in the past.

    Again, that is not to say you should never accept praise! For you are indeed a talented artist friend and I have the haunting suspicion that you are a most beautiful young woman too. But guard well your vanity, for the praises of our fellow man are short lived. They are also a terrible snare, driving us to ever greater vanities.

    One only has to look to Hollywood for such an example as that.

    I really just wanted to say that I understand you, how you thought, how you felt… most clearly how you felt… And I hope I connect with how you think now. Because I was so hurt by the same children as you. And I am ashamed now to say I was very good at comebacks, very good at hurting as I had been hurt. It was tit for tat. They hit with tat; I struck back with tit.

    (There’s a couple of fur characters in there somewhere, perhaps. Brother and sister maybe? Lol, sorry, my mind wanders sometimes. Tit for Tat just makes me think of two petty siblings, lol.)

    My final point is that I suspect that all that pain has made you into a most gracious person, one that feels deeply the problems of others. I see you moving beyond the pain now and I wish to congratulate you. But fear deeply friend the praises of your fellow humans. DO not let them appeal too deeply to your vanity, unless you know and trust the source. Praise from the majority of your fellow humans will lead you down as deeply hurtful paths as those you felt when petty children made fun of your skin color.

    You have my best wishes for your art and for you personally, as well as your health and continued success in whatever field you find your endeavors in

    Most Sincerely,

    Anthony Ficton

    (Anthony Ficton is my pen name, not my given or surname. It is my non de plume, so to speak.)

  3. Dargon says:

    I’m so Very sorry to hear you were Bullied, and in such a unique way.
    I’ve Never heard of someone being bullied for their skin tone. Where I come from, Darker is Far More Desirable!
    It tells me that the Bullies were simply Jealous that They were Not as Beautiful as you. And no, I’m not trying to “Hit on you” ……Instead I’m simply citing the Facts! If you require further proof, then look no further than Hollywood. Who is the Most talked about actress right now? (Forgive me, it’s late and I forget her name) But she is Very Dark Complected. And aren’t Large Shapely Women of ALL races on Top billing right now? Every-Body is Beautiful! And ANYONE who says Different, is only saying so out of pure Jealousy and Nothing More.

    • Hey Dargon, sorry for the super late reply <3
      Loving your positivity! American beauty trends rise and fall with the rest of them. I know it's a worldwide thing, as well. And I appreciate the compliment x3

      I definitely need to ask, where are you from?

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