If you know me you know I love the sun. I love the warmth of the sun rays on my skin. I love gazing into the brightness as my eyes are forced to squint. I love the reassurance the sun gives me that God is real. I basically have a love affair with the sun, my goodness, it’s magical.
That being said, the other day I was having a wonderful time sitting outside eating a FreeBirds burrito bowl. And then I felt the kiss of the sun against my melanated skin and just as I was bathing in all its glory, this thought passed through my mind . . .
“You’re gonna get dark” …
Immediately my brain went into panic mode as I went back and forth on rather I should shimmy my way into the shade or enjoy my beloved. This all happened in a matter of about 3 seconds. And then poof, I snapped back into it. I was shocked that this thought entered my mind. I’m the girl who knows the magic behind her melanin, the girl who follows darkskinbaddiesdaily and soulpick on Instagram, the girl that’s so proud of her blackness . . . so why? Why has this thought entered my mind?
I had to dissect this. I had to figure out why this was happening.
As I sorted through my thoughts, I came upon this memory. It was a few years ago. I had just came back from working out and met up with someone extremely close to me and they said,
“YOU GOT DARKKKK”
But it was not in a “your melanins poppin” kind of way, it was as if my beauty has degraded when my melanin became deeper. They said,
“You need to stay out the sun.”
My heart sank, but I quickly rebutted back with a “I don’t care, I love my skin. I’m going to enjoy the sun as I like.” And it was true. So true. But little did I know that what they said stuck with me, BUT it didn’t get the best of me.
As I came back to the present moment, burrito ready to be devoured, I laughed at how ridiculous the thought was. But I was also very concerned about how those words from years ago affected me for those 10 seconds that day. Needless to say, I stayed flourishing in the sun that day. Fully embracing my skin getting deeper. Richer… Sweeter.
As I write this, I started to remember some of the other comments made, the music lyrics I listened to, the commercials I watched and how they all made my darkness seem inferior and so “damn unpretty.”
But then I realized, that they didn’t have THAT much of an affect on me. I do, I do think I’m beautiful, but I know that a lot of women and men don’t because of these portrayals. Which made me ask “who taught me to love myself?” And it wasn’t until the other day when I was looking around my mother’s home was where I found the answer. There are paintings of black women and men infused with the culture of Africa on the walls, there are statues of the blackest of faces up against golden patterns on the countertops and there is a painting of Jesus above my mothers bed that reflects the description of him in the bible (You know, skin of bronze and hair of wool like mine.) It was when I looked around my environment that I learn that my mother was the one who taught me to love myself, not just with words, but by creating an environment that reflected who I am. . . who we are.
Thank you mommy.