How Colorism Taught Me to Own My Insecurities.

by winnell

Tis’ the season to be thankful. Tis’ the season to be thankful for your life – the good, the bad and the ugly.

We can admit or at least be the last to admit to feeling insecure at least once in our lives.

“Pretty hurts. Shine the light on whatever’s worse. Perfection is the disease of a nation. Tryna fix something that you can’t fix. It’s the soul that needs the surgery.”

Beyoncé sang these words so nicely. Yes, I’m bringing Beyoncé into this.

This particular “how-to” post is quite complex and can take a significant amount of time to process. Sometimes we are so far removed from our insecurities that we can’t pinpoint the person, place or thing that made us start feeling insecure. I hope after reading this, I will arm you with vital tools on how to deal with insecurity.

Ugly Alibi

Remember that four-letter word that inspired a cheerleading chant that went something like “U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi”. Well, it turns out, you do have an alibi for your “ugliness”.
What exactly is ugly? Ugly is relative. In fact, my perception of ugly is that ugly does not exist. God is the creator of all things. God makes no mistakes. I believe that every human creature, product, resource and mineral on this earth is divine. God is light. God is beauty. Therefore, nothing and nobody is ugly.

Self-confidence is something that we must learn to while growing.  I wasn’t always confident. It took me a while to figure out my insecurities. I realized that once you own your insecurities there’s really no one else in this world that can make you feel bad about them.

There were times when I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin.  A lot of it stemmed from colorism. This concept started encroaching upon me as an adolescent girl, at a summer camp with lighter-skinned friends and cousins who were considered more desirable to boys (although they had cooties and I wasn’t attracted to them anyway” as per 12-year-old me).  During this time, I started to see gradation shades of brown as a means of establishing beauty standards. When you’re labeled the “dark one” or at the butt of “stay out of the sun” jokes, it really starts to play into your psyche. The changes that come with puberty was enough to deal with. What helped me see comparable beauty was observing darker skinned entertainers who were gracing the covers of magazines and spotlighted on television. My biased favorite in girl groups was always darker-skinned like Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child (once upon a time I let somebody else be the Beyonce of the group lol) and Naturi of 3LW because I saw myself in them.

Mirror Deep

Looking into the mirror, I saw my mother’s face and she too is one of the most beautiful women in the world. My dad called me “daddy’s own Krissy” and this made me feel so beautiful.

Why was I even searching for someone especially a young man to co-sign and validate my beauty? I had a mainstay endorsement within myself at home.

Unfortunately, the issue of Colorism has roots that run so deep into history but continue to infiltrate into political and cultural divisiveness. Our brains have been hardwired to associate certain skin tones with certain attitudes and delusions of grandeur. Colorism is an entire blog post or two within itself that I’ll defer for another post.

I just wanted to share my past experience with a deeply rooted insecurity that took me years to finally own.

Owning My Ugly

Nowadays, my melanin is poppin’ and you really can’t tell me NOTHIN’! Excuse my Ebonics! I’m in love with my dark skin, chocolate mocha, macchiato, whatever the kids are calling it these days. I love how it radiates in the sun and seamlessly contrasts with just about any color including yellow, white, red, orange, etc. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Please note that this was my largest insecurity growing up and I have had more physical traits that I’ve grown to love because I was able to overcome the first. I hated my feet so much. Time and time again, the soles of these feet bear arches that carry the weight of the world as I walk through this wonderful life being able to experience walking by faith and not by sight.

I’m sure you have insecurities of your own. Can you name one out loud?

If you truly were to look at yourself you’d realize that God gave you those large ears, feet, and prominent forehead for you to listen to the world, while walking the chosen path with an encased brain full of knowledge, respectively.

I want to send a message to people of any age that what God has made for you is for you and you are beautifully divine.

Owning your ugly requires two simple steps:

  • Identify the things that you find “ugly” about yourself.
  • Find the beauty in them.

It is only when you realize the diminutive scale of your irrational perceptions of ugly that you can truly overcome it. Ugly is relative to one’s perception. A lot of people create insecurities solely based on what other people have said to them or based on what society has overtly deemed a superior standard.

So today, I challenge you to own your ugly.

Please don’t leave it in the hands of somebody else.

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