I usually post my childhood pictures on social media and I find joy in doing it. I love seeing how far I have come,(not the glow up because I am sure I look pretty much the same). A couple of days ago, I posted this picture on social media and a comment was passed that I should keep them in the gallery and not post them. Funny thing, I was not offended but it actually got me thinking-why should I be embarrassed by this little girl who made some of the decisions which built me to be the woman I am today? Why should I start pushing her to the sidelines after what she had endured and gone through for me to have thick skin? Why would I hurt her again by not thinking she was not good enough to be celebrated? I began to think of my childhood and what that girl went through.
Growing up, I was always being compared to my sister (even now most people do and will). My sister and I are completely different (same mother and father) she is very light and I am very dark. People always marvelled when they saw my sister and what would hurt me the most were the follow up questions-Your sister is prettier and lighter, what happened to you? Is she your cousin? You are pretty but she is prettier?
As a young girl/woman it bruised me, it made me feel ugly and it was engraved in my mind at a very young age that lighter skin is more acceptable and celebrated than darker skin. I did not hate my sister or did I ever think she was much better than me-she was/is light and was/am dark, that was it. That little girl on that picture was also met with those questions and comments, from young children and older people. As I grew up I would rarely talk about my sister, even to my friends, because of fear of those questions which I never had the answer to.
In my self-love journey (en route), I had to come head to head with this issue/insecurity. I had to learn to love my dark skin and know that I am beautiful in it because God saw it right for me to be in it. I had to accept myself for who God says I am rather than what people say-which is not always easy but not believing God when He says I am beautiful and wonderful in His eyes is the same as me calling Him a liar.
My teenage years did not make it any better because I grew up in the “yellow bone” era. I am not sure if it is still a thing back in Zimbabwe but the yellow bone era was when light skinned girls were preferred to dark skinned girls. The first thing a guy would mention when describing their girlfriend was the colour of their skin. I am sure most of them were not aware of it but some were-I dated a guy who told me I was pretty but not light skinned. In a way, he was trying to say he settled.
This led to most dark skinned girls bleaching their skin. Most girls changed to be accepted, it was not only physical but psychological-most girls began to hate who God created them to be into what they thought they were supposed to be. I believe it is because not most girls are taught to love themselves from a young age. Most have mistaken being beautiful with being given attention by guys or girls wanting to be them. Beauty has been reduced to Snapchat filters, butt injections and Brazilian weaves.
What of the girl who can not afford an expensive weave or is not curvy-does that mean she is not beautiful? Beauty has been redefined so many-if you try and keep up, you will definitely lose your mind. Be comfortable in your own skin because you are your own beautiful. I had to come to terms with the fact that not everyone is going to see your beauty just like how you do not always see other people’s beauty. However, as a Christian, we are urged to love others as we love ourselves. That little girl there did not know how to love herself or that she was beautiful. As she grew up she began to shy away from the camera because in her mind she was not beautiful enough. It stuck with her and she still has moments when she does not see it but she feels it.
If you have a daughter, niece,neighbour-boy or girl, please plant good seed in them. Tell them they are beautiful/handsome because that will build them up. I have a 12-year-old cousin when I tell her she is beautiful-it takes her time to accept it but I will make it my life’s duty to tell her she is beautiful because she is and she needs to know and believe it.
I did not write this for people to feel sorry for me or tell me I am beautiful, no this is not a pity party. I wrote this post for the girls/women who have gone through this or are going through it. Do not go with society-either you are dark skinned or light skinned, you are beautiful and you are more than your skin or your hair-you my friend are beautifully and wonderfully made from the inside out. Love yourself from the inside out and know who God says you are. It will not magically happen but make it a habit to tell yourself each day, whether you see it or not-YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL TO GOD.
So I will post a few verses on what the Bible says about beauty. Some are for us not to solely rely on our outward appearance but from the inside and some to encourage us to love who and what we are in Christ:
Ephesians 2 v 10: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Jesus Christ to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Psalms 139 v 14: I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that fully well.
Songs of Solomon 4 v 7: You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
1 Peter 3 v 3-4: Your beauty should not come from outward adornments, such as elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather it should be that in your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.