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”.

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.

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.

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.

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.

For a more in-depth look at my experience, please read my extended article For Colored Girls.

The Real Black Carrie Bradshaw

3 thoughts on “Growing Up Dark-Skinned

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