A diamond in the rough township of Kagiso, I spent my early formative years trying to convince myself that there was beauty in having glinting, dark, brown skin. Rich, unrelenting melanin. That insecurity was the spawn of repetitive teasing and cruel name-calling that I endured at the hands of the people I love.
That was the reality of a young girl living in a society that was accepting of very little and highly incapable of biting their tongues. My reality to be precise. Self-consciousness found itself nestling cosily in the pit of my stomach each time my slightly older, fairer-skinned cousin shared his unwanted sentiments on how in contrast my dark skin was to his light skin.
“The dark one,” he would condescendingly remark.
As expected, like the shy six-year-old I was, I would retreat further and further into my shell instead of having a backbone and making fun of his misshapen, wide and flat nose. Ironically, had I ridiculed his facial appearance; I would have been making a mockery of the ‘comfort in your own skin’ narrative that I am now advocating for. I thank unknown powers that at that tender age I knew not to poke holes into people’s self-esteems for the sole purpose of easing my own insecurities.
The reason for this glimpse into my painful past is very simple. Everyone has a story. It might be a scab covering years of putting on a thick skin or it might be a gleeful trip down memory lane. Fact is, it has somehow shaped you into who you are today. This journey of mine has brought to my attention that we have all been on the swing with Satan. Everyone has had their fair share of trials and tribulations. The thin line between those that got up and those that remained on the ground is, your state of mind.
How conscious are you of your shortcomings and do you know where they stem from? These are questions you have to ask yourself and make sure you live your life seeking the answers to. I have realised that I have no obligation to live my life as the poster child of perfection. Today, at 21 years of age, my eyes have been opened to the revelation that my skin, flawlessly flawed as it is, has a touch of God in it. Therefore; it calls for no shame and most certainly, no apology.
Take it as it is. The only words of wisdom I hope to share with people who find themselves lacking or inadequate in any way, be it physically, intellectually or emotionally are: dwelling on your inadequacies will never yield any positive result.
You can either work on improving where you fall short or you will spend your entire life wishing you had. In conclusion, that was my
‘aha’ moment and how it impacted my life and still impacts it even today.
Tell us: How can people stop society’s unrealistic views on beauty?