I have thought long and hard before I answered this question, which is why it’s been sitting in my inbox for the past two days. Don’t think I’ve been ignoring you. I just prayed that I could find the words to be of help to you.
First things first: fuck Western beauty ideals. With MUCH disrespect.
And I know. That is HARD. Because it is EVERYWHERE. We are encapsulated by images of societally deemed ‘perfection’ that look far from us. I’m not lily white with blonde hair, blue eyes and a size 2. But in every ad in Vogue, the women are just that. It sucks. It’s bizarre to feel like your beauty is some sort of ‘trend’ to society. At first, white skin was clearly in. Then, lighter skinned black models became acceptable. And now, darker skinned models are ‘acceptable’ but still not booked as often, and still not used for high fashion campaigns. And even still, those girls are rail thin and don’t look like most of us. Steps are being made, but they are slow. So.
That’s why we have to take care of ourselves, sista.
Let me tell you a few things. That wide broad nose you have, is the indelible trait that you are a descendant from royalty. Your lineage is so resilient that through slavery and ships, through famine and warfare, you still have the regal bearings of your ancestors from hundreds of years ago. You are discernible as a dignified woman whose beauty is a precious gift passed down from illustrious, imperial Mother Africa many moons ago. Your broad nose notifies us all of your nobility. So hold it up high.
Your cheekbones? Do you know how many white women are paying hundreds and thousands of dollars for big cheekbones like yours? Girl, let me tell you. Those big cheekbones are God’s way of letting us all know he spent a little more time on you. He arched and sculpted and molded you until He was satisfied that when you smiled, your prominently placed cheekbones reflected light and glistened. I have big cheekbones and I love them. Every man I have ever dated has loved them. They are queenly and womanly. They add depth to my face. I can create a look of desire by sucking them in. I can create an impish look by grinning widely, sending them shooting up to kiss my eyelashes. Little sista, trust me. Big cheekbones, are one of the most beautiful attributes you can have as a woman. And even if those silly 16 year old boys aren’t telling you that now, by the time you’re my age, 9 years from now, you’ll have some man beating down your door, just to see you smile.
Big round eyes are beautiful. They tell the world you are inquisitive. Opens your soul up for business. Your face illuminates when you laugh, eyes dancing. Your eyes give away when you are disappointed, darting downward. Your eyes widen like saucers on a Sunday morning after church when you are frightened. Your eyes are descriptive. Your eyes tell your story when you don’t have the words to say anything yourself. Big round eyes, to be honest, are actually one of the most attractive traits men look for, studies have shown. So, two points for those big brown eyes, dear.
As for your dark skin. Yes, I saved the best for last.
There is nothing worthless about your dark skin. You are clothed in the allure and mystery of midnight. You are the exact shade that God intended you to be. You are the color of the earth and of ebony and mahogany woods and of my mother’s warm eyes and a cup of my favorite coffee and the sparrow who’s song wakes me up every morning and that point in the night when the sun hasn’t quite faded into oblivion and night hasn’t quite announced its presence. You are the deep, dark brown that lovers hide in. You are the deep, dark brown that secrets are kept. You are the deep, dark brown of the earth before He said let there be light you ARE a deep, dark brown girl and if they have the audacity to bully you, a young woman of worth and value, of beauty and strength, of character and nobility, of honor and conviction, then they are too moronic, too dense, too stupid to see that you are beautiful. And not everyone is entitled to BEHOLD your beauty.
To you, I pray. I was you 9 years ago. I felt confused and ugly and sad but I promise you, little sista, you will flourish. I hope you read this and you smile. I hope you read this and you look in the mirror and you see every beautiful trait of yours. Most importantly, I hope you read this and decide, you know what, FORGET a mirror, because you don’t need a piece of glass to reflect back on the beauty that illuminates inside of you. You are 16 years old. The world is yours if you open your heart. Happiness is, more often than not, just around the corner. So, little sista, today, tonight, or whenever you read this, make the brave choice to say, “I am beautiful. I look like a queen. I feel like a queen. My happiness is mine and mine alone and I choose to dress myself, to dress my very soul, up in happiness from head to toe.”
I hope this helps. I PRAY this helps. Please, feel free to contact me again if you want to talk. I don’t know you at all, I wish I did, but I LOVE you. And I am sending you all of my well-wishes and ‘you go, girl!’ vibes from here to wherever you are.
All my love,
still hoping, whoever this young woman was, finds this post and let’s me know she’s fine. i’ve never had a question in my inbox break me down the way this one did. i just hope she’s feeling lovely and brown, wherever she may be. and living a very, very happy life.