A Letter to Every Dark Skinned Girl

Dear Dark Skinned Girl,

First of all, you are beautiful, and you must learn to know your worth. It can be difficult, especially with the years of society telling you to believe the opposite. Start to remind yourself that you are unique, and the melanin in your skin is a blessing.

If you had asked me what my biggest insecurity was a year ago, without hesitation my answer would have been my skin tone. For many years, I felt angry. I always felt a persistent notion of self-doubt every time I looked in the mirror or every time I saw a photo of myself in the “wrong” lighting. I still believed that being lighter would make me prettier, happier, or more popular. 

What I realize now, that I didn’t realize then, was that what society said didn’t have to define me. I could choose to abide by the arbitrary beauty standards created long before me, or I could create my own. I sought to surround myself with information that would inspire me, uplift me, not bring me down. I began to follow more black models, beauty gurus, bloggers, artists on social media. I followed them not intending to compare myself to them, but as a reminder of all the diverse beauty of Black Women. Every woman is beautiful in their way, and doing this helped me see that more clearly. 

The path to self-acceptance will always be a bumpy one. It’s not a clear upward trajectory- at least it wasn’t for me. There were many moments of ups and downs, times where I felt that I had finally begun to love my skin and other times when I still felt resentful of how I looked. I worked on defining the little things about myself I did love, and eventually, my skin became one of them.  So go back to step one: First of all, you are beautiful…

Dear Dark Skinned Girl, love your skin. Love the way that it takes on a new shade in the summer, love how it shines under the sun. Love all of your black features, and walk through this world with the pride of your ancestors on your shoulders. But most importantly, love your mind. Educate it, enrich it, so that you can always feel like the strongest, most confident woman in the room. Prove the world wrong.