Growing Up Dark-Skinned

I’ll take “You’re as beautiful on the INSIDE as you are on the outside” any day over “You’re so pretty”.
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Being pretty is nice, but for me, the greatest compliments come from people who speak to my character. My mama always taught me that it’s what’s INSIDE that matters anyway.
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Growing up, compared to my sisters, I was considered “dark-skinned” & I think I had somewhat of a complex about it. Not in the beginning, because I didn’t notice this from within my family, but it was from outsiders, strangers, that I noticed a difference. I’ll never forget one day being at a store called Holidays in Jefferson Square (in my hometown) just me & my sisters, I had to have been around…14 & my older sister introduced us to a friend of hers. “That’s your baby sister, I can tell, ya’ll are twins. She’s so pretty”. I don’t even think she looked at me. It was like I was invisible.
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For years, I tried overcompensating my abilities & my character because I knew that if I was a good person then people would have something nice to say about me. Or, I thought so, anyways.
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My mother says this phrase to me often, “DeJ, you’re as beautiful on the INSIDE as you are on the outside.” And I love that because she knows me better than anyone. But sometimes I feel like she kinda has to say that because she’s my mom, lol, right? So when someone else says it, a perfect stranger, it makes it that much more special. And that’s the ultimate compliment.

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