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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.

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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