I was born Black but I didn’t know it. I was my Daddy’s cute little girl. My Daddy! He loved my hair, he used to arrange them every day, be it ponytails or braids. Tickling and Games, my childhood was all about it. One word can summarise my childhood and that is Happiness.
I never saw a Mirror, never needed to. I was the prettiest and the most beautiful girl as my Daddy called me. Then I became a teenager, the time of tonnes of changes, biological, physical, mental, loads of them. The time of fragility and abysmal confusion. The people started commenting on my looks, told me that my skin was not white, not pure.
I never knew the difference between the white and black skin. The only way I could distinguish people was their acquaintance or relationship with me. There were people I know in one group and the ones I didn’t know in the other. That was it, there were no further classifications with their color, class, religion, caste as a base.
With each day, the number of comments was rising, I was becoming a mess. I got confused between the notion of Daddy and that of the society. Daddy called me the prettiest and now people are eying me and calling me Black. He was not there anymore, couldn’t ask him too.
With new and different comments, weird and awkward stares, strange insecurities were being born in me every day. I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t want to believe that my black skin was not pretty. But bit by bit, the strange insecurities about the skin, color, lips broke the belief. The belief of being the Daddy’s Most Beautiful Girl broke.
I got to know the difference finally. I was uncomfortable in my skin now. I was ashamed of being black now. They forced me to be ashamed of my black skin. Each day was a sin after the realisation. It took me days to chuck it.
I started to put makeup, layers of it. Primer, Concealer, foundation, highlighter, kohl, mascara and Tone Enhancing, Fairness Creams at night. I thought it’ll be okay now. I felt good in the beginning when my kith and kin complimented me. It gave me a satisfaction. I felt happy, really happy. Months and years passed. My obsession for makeup also rose. I couldn’t picturise myself without makeup anymore. It became my identity, the outer one at least. I got dependent on it. It became my drug.
But one night, I was removing my makeup, I removed the Kohl first, it got smudged and smeared. Then I took the cleansing wipe, rubbed it on my lips. The bold red lips became dull, lifeless at once. I panicked a bit. I folded the wipe, started to clean my face. I could see, stroke by stroke, the two juxtaposing skin tones. I was horrified. I can’t explain the feeling, what I felt that very moment, suddenly there was a tear in my eye. I wiped it, cleansed and washed my face and went to bed. I tried to sleep but I wasn’t able to.
I was confused about this incident for many months. I was losing my sleep. There was this identity crisis in me after all of it that I was neither able to embrace my natural shade, be comfortable with it or wear it publically nor I was able to be happy in my artificial shade, I was wearing it to work but I wasn’t feeling myself anymore.
Then to worsen it, one day, while I was checking Instagram, I saw a white women’s post. It said-“BAN MAKEUP and FAIRNESS CREAM”. I was angry, sad, happy, worried, optimistic, and pessimistic in a single moment. Can you believe it?
Angry! As why a white woman is posting it, she’s not black, she doesn’t feel us then how did she get the right to post it.
Sad! As I was already disturbed about my skin. I thought if this should happen what would I do without makeup? How would I see myself without these products?
Happy as at least someone thought of it, a woman thought of it despite she’s white, she cared enough for others. She wants others to feel beautiful with whatever God has gifted them with.
Worried! I was worried how will I go out, in such a dull and lifeless skin. What would others think of me if they see me like so?
Optimistic! I thought maybe if there are no products, everyone will eventually accept their natural beauty despite the differences and the diversity. After all, we all are the same, all humans, we all have eyes, ears, mouth, lips, brain, heart etc. Maybe the world will embrace the black and white alike now.
Pessimistic! What if this all was a bubble, my bubble of hope. What if this all was my imagination while the reality might be unfavorable? What if the world refuses to believe in black, denies their rights and opportunities. What if we’re all left out.
Yes, all these thoughts in a couple of seconds. My head was all about it, and it started to pain because all these feelings were shouting, having arguments and fights with each other. It was a Brain War.
I was messed up beyond words that night. I took a pill and tried to catch some Zs. I slept with a wet pillow. The pill put me to sleep.
Luckily, I had a good dream that night. In my dream, there was a different world, an animated and a really beautiful one. I saw chocolate rivers, colorful trees. Some trees had candies hung on them. Some had cupcakes while others had star shaped fairy lights hung on them. On one side, there was this huge fall, from which strawberry shake was falling. The people’s face were teddy like, had a cherry-like nose. There were big mansions made of waffles which also had noodle shaped curtains on their glass panes. There were statues of chocolate, ice-cream filled ponds. Pasta shaped ducks and all cute little animals. Surprisingly, all the teddies looked alike. A huge bell rang in a while, at the centre of the beautiful Garden. Suddenly all the teddies sat on the green grass for lunch. They held each other’s hand and made a big circle, leaving no one behind. All sat and had lunch circled by small puppies and kittens, they also joined for lunch.
The speciality of this very time was the way they all sat for the feast. Their regular meal was a feast each day. They were so happy and joyous. Each one of them started to feed others with their plate. Each one was filled up with not just food but love. The cute animals were not left alone either. What an adorable scene that was! I wish I could capture it on my phone. Suddenly played the Beep! Beep! My alarm played and woke me up.
I woke up with a smile on my face. I remembered each scene of my dream, so clearly and vividly. I was in awe of it. I was happy about it, the dream fed me some positivity, and a long lost one. I went to the park, bathed, ate my breakfast and got ready for work.
I did not wear makeup that day, it was hard but I didn’t. I tied my hair and went for work. Some colleagues questioned on why looked so dull. To which I replied—“I look real.” Some appreciated while others chose to whisper and laugh. I won’t say it was easy. It was bold, you know, doing something unafraid, indifferent to the consequences. I did it or maybe I didn’t. This was daddy’s pretty girl who did it.
The wicked and surprised eyes disappointed me a little at first. But the impression of the dream was not that weak that I would be hurt by those stone pelted at me anymore.
Instead, the second time I chose to fire back at the ones who came and commented on my skin. I chose to bomb kind words wrapped in sarcasm with a smirking smile on my face. I could see them almost dying as they couldn’t make me insecure anymore. I saw that dissatisfaction in their eyes when they saw my proud eyes. I wish I knew this cycle in my teenage. Comments if not answered turn into our own insecurities while also powering the perpetrators.
Anyway, I was not looking for an acceptance anymore. I accepted myself entirely that day. Isn’t there much more to me, my life than the shade of my flesh?
Problems never last so does satisfaction. I was pondering over a cup of java that what if I had not seen that Instagram post that day? What if I had not cared for my dull lips and different shades that day? What if my daddy never called me beautiful? What if I hadn’t had that dream morning?
I could be happy in my flesh once again, the way nature made me, the way my family loved and accepted me. But what about the others? Who are as black as I yet with golden but fragile hearts? What sequence is designed by the nature to make them believe in their skin again? What if they don’t see that post or have that dream?
What ifs are tonnes but so are the what now’s. We all should be that human to at least someone that betters their life directly or indirectly. I want to inspire many by this small tale. But I’m not going to say Ban Makeup or Ban Fairness Cream.
I would go and shout out loud—“BAN THE INSECURITY”. I would teach the trick to silent the commenters. I’m going to teach the blacks to educate the racists and pity their limited thinking.
I would teach the teenagers how the color palette is incomplete and somehow blank with just white and alone without the black.
The world is also the color palette of the Lord whose colors are white, black and so many others and his arts are equally colorful. If God wasn’t partial to his color palette, who gave humans the right to criticise his art pieces?