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When other little girls wished upon a star for dolls and other childlike hopes, I wished for fair skin.
I dreamed of blue or green eyes, a face filled with freckles, a skin tone that resembled the after effects of creamed coffee. But instead, I woke to the reality of being just a “regular Black girl”. From a slumber of dreaming about being one of the cleansed skins, I faced my reflection. Again in reality I was back to being a girl who looked at her tangled hair of wasted dreams, a girl whose brown eyes wrinkled in disappointment and a girl whose skin resembled raisins that sat in the sun, you know – the ones that Lorraine Hansberry once spoke about.
And every day as a child, I regretted the sun’s smile on my skin tone and the hues that resembled the finest of Earth’s natural resources. I couldn’t help it. As the lightskin beauties smiled on what seemed like the happiest of days for them, I watched in pain behind my clueless eyes. I was a child then and I can still see myself sitting in the corner of misery. With my arms folded in frustration and questions that I would ask to God. Why would he allow a birth from a fairskinned woman be the creation of me? I regretted my very existence. Little brown skin girls like me have been the bearer of these torments as well.
For brown skin girls like me couldn’t have good hair and if we did, the assumption was that it was not ours. We couldn’t dress better than the fair skin girls because if we did, the attention we hoped to received would be that of torture and seething words which pried open more of our pestering wounds. We were treated like dirt, as though our skin colors reflected our insides. We were dirtied to all that didn’t resemble us; we were taught that our skin colors were stains of retched garbage. We were what no one wanted, we were compared and depicted to be that of not little black girls but of little black things. We had become things of no value.
Then something happened.
Around eighteen, the wants for wanting a change of skin ceased. I begin to examine my skin as though it was a first time encounter between it and I. I could see the hues of earthly tones that I once hated become everything that I now love. I wish not for freckles but for darker skin. I didn’t long for lighter eyes but for eyes that would open me into a new realm of true beauty. I dreamed of little black girls now. Little black girls who would twirl in the prettiest of dresses and stand with other tones of beautiful African skin and feel wanted. I did not compare myself to trash anymore but to treasure. I begin to love myself. And with the newfound love of myself I walked around from being that little black girl and into a black queen. I watch the sun on my skin now and I smile. And today, the sun rays smile right back at me.