Brown is Beautiful

Monday, May 25, 2020

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I never used to believe that.

 

When I was young, I wanted so much to be light-skinned. I was born dark and I never understood why because my mom was super pale light, my sister takes after her and my brother is kinda light. In fact I asked myself quite a few times, Whatever happened to genetics? How the hell did it miss me?

 

My dad, on the other hand, was the brown skin carrier of the family. My dad’s side of the family is primarily dark-skinned except for a few anomalies, and yes I look more like them. I can blend in well with them.

 

My mom’s side however is a different story as most of the time they don’t even know about me or my existence (except for my Grandma, of course who always seemed to find me amusing). Often, I would be mistaken for the help’s daughter if not the help.

 

So no, I never liked myself because of the fact that I was dark. I grew up in a country where the standard of beauty is a mestiza looking girl with pointy nose, thin lips, pale face, big eyes, and super light, oh-so- flawless skin..

But…

I was brown.

I was short.

I had small eyes.

I had buck teeth.

I had pimples.

I had thick, straight,  boring, lifeless hair.

 

And all I had going for me was my super excellent grades in school (Where else was I. Supposed to devote my attention too?) and a few good friends. Who wants that?

I thought if I was lighter, I won’t be picked on much by stupid boys.

Instead, I would get noticed more…especially by boys I liked. I thought I would have a better future ahead of me if I was lighter.

 

If my skin was lighter…I thought I would finally be happy.

 

 

All my childhood years, that’s all I prayed about. Lord, please. Make me pretty one of these days. You can start with my skin.

When we became teenagers, all my friends (and my sister) started to get noticed. But me? I was just there.

Watching as they get their daily supply of Toblerone chocolate (a big deal if you are a broke high schooler in the Philippines)

A few dozens of roses on Valentine’s Day.

Then there’s the love letters.

And getting hit on.

Yes, little plain old me can’t help but feel slightly depressed (and jealous!).

My world revolved around the belief that I was less than who I was because I wasn’t the embodiment of true Filipina beauty.

But then… something happened.

I grew up.

”Woman-ed” up.

Woken up from this wild dream.

 

Suddenly, I refuse to spend my last few change on some skin cream whitener promising  to make me look like a typical Filipino celebrity.

I decided not to starve myself anymore (in an effort to buy these whitening products) and instead,  I used  the extra change I have to buy me some fattening food.

I simply stopped giving a shit about being liked (or not) anymore. Nor would I even try. I wanted people to like me for who I was and not how much melanin is swimming in my skin.

 

 

I asked myself: Why do I have to be influenced by this 300 yr old concept that was somehow forced upon us- The lighter you are, the better you look, and the better your life will be in all ways?

 

Why do women subject themselves in this madness- going as far as getting  glutathione injection an d pills in an attempt to look White?

 

I remember back then when I used to complain to our help that no one will ever marry me.  Instead,  I’ll be a nun instead Bound to spend the rest of my life in celibacy not because I have a calling, but because I prolly had no choice. Nobody wanted a dark skinned girl back then, at least back in my time.

 

Gently she’d tell me…”Maghintay ka lang, dadating din yan” (Just wait, he will come).

 

So I waited…

And waited…

And waited…

 

And showed up he did…years later. And yes, he loves me for who I am, regardless of the difference in our skin tone.

 

Sometimes you get caught up in a cultural belief that honestly serves you no purpose as it does sticking your tongue out in pictures.

 

Question is, do you really have to jump at the bandwagon like everybody else?

 

So you ask..What about those people who absolutely still feel the same way? Who don’t think they are beautiful unless they are light-skinned? You cant really blame or force them to think otherwise. You can never change people’s thoughts and beliefs. Nor can you control their behaviors and actions.

 

But you can change your thoughts. No one has the power to control you unless you let them. True beauty is in the inside. Intelligence is sexy. Humor is attractive. A kind heart lasts for a while- a lifetime, so to speak.

 

 

So to all my Filipino sisters out there, don’t be discouraged if  you don’t look like Anne Curtis, Marian Rivera or any other commercialized-type looking Filipina model. The media wants you to believe that they are the only standard but that’s not true.

You might think yeah, easy for me to say because I’m not in the Philippines, and in the US people are more accepting  of the color of my skin.

Believe me, it’s a whole different story (I learned) for another day.

Stop wasting your money on these products that yes, might change the way you look, but for what cause?

So that you can look better? And for whose eyes?

For people who could care less about you since they don’t pay your bills?

And so what if your beautiful caramel mocha latte brown skin is a little too dark for your liking  it makes the white of your eyes pop out?

So effing what?

Are you going to die of shame because of this?

Point is, life is too short  to care about what people think about you- beauty and all. Life is too short for you to be wasting your energy on things and people that no longer serves you or your life purpose (is that deep or what?).

The truth is that you are beautiful in your own unique way my dear…quirks and all. Embrace it like there’s no tomorrow.

Own it like you mean it.

 

Flaunt it cause you got it.

 

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