I thought a while about writing this. I thought long and hard.
*sighs deeply* Here goes.
This post is going to be a little different from my skincare reads in the past, but it is about something that I am equally as passionate about:
You may be scratching your head like and thinking like so:
Yes, hun. It is in fact the same word. However, in this context it has two entirely different meanings.
SKIN CARE IS SELF LOVE.
What I’m about to write to you on today, chile, is my journey to true skin care. The story of how I fell in love with my skin in a world where I experienced feeling invisible for the very skin that has me glowing for a living.
Read on, luvs. Enjoy.
A little background, if you can’t tell from my previous posts, I’m black. Now that that amazing fact is out of the way, I want to add a further layer. I am a dark-skinned black woman. Another shocker right? Now, my dry humor is lovely and all, but I want to share my experience being a dark-skinned woman in an environment where there isn’t much black people and/or black culture compared to other parts of the United States.
Growing up in Seattle, I wasn’t really aware that my image was not the standard of beauty until I hit my early teens. There wasn’t much social media back then like how it is now, with the hashtags like #BlackGirlMagic, #NoFilter, and #Selfie.
We had MySpace–which was bomb–but I didn’t see women that looked like me that often in the media. There was no Instagram models back then that celebrated black beauty like how there is today. The “Instagram models” of the early 2000’s were music video girls, but even then, they didn’t look like me. They were black, but they were much fairer than me, and more racially ambiguous looking.
Now granted, I didn’t have this sort of awareness when I was a teenager. I was just bopping along to Lil Wayne and Chingy like it was nobody’s business. Yet still, I wasn’t aware how that would affect my self esteem about my complexion.
Middle school was when I was made sharply aware that being darker was not it. I look back and laugh at how mean those kids were, but not with a spirit of anger, but with a spirit of compassion because they didn’t know any better. Shoot–they was black too!
I went through all of middle school internalizing the negative labels representing the colorist idea that put dark skin in a bad light. I felt invisible. I looked in the mirror and told myself these labels, every day. The same story over and over.
For those of you that don’t know what colorist/colorism is outside of the painting definition, I like to describe it as an individual discriminating on someone based on their variation of skin tone. The global concept behind the idea is that lighter skin is more favorable than darker skin. That was and still is the story being told in mainstream media and society.
One day, I decided to tell myself a different story.
I am beautiful. My skin is beautiful. My entire BEING is beautiful. I decided to believe those words.
I looked in the mirror and even though I was so used to seeing the glass half empty. I decided to see my full-bodied, black a** glass, half full.
I glowed up, baby.
You see, you have to DECIDE to love yourself. You have to DECIDE to have high self-esteem. Your happiness is YOUR decision. It’s yours. No matter what flaws you may have. Even if you don’t have a similar experience as I had, that doesn’t mean that your experience isn’t valid. It doesn’t mean that the acne that you had all throughout high school (and shoot, even as an adult because it happens!) doesn’t contribute to the story you tell to yourself every time you look in the mirror.
What story do you tell yourself? Is it negative self talk? Do you feel uncomfortable whenever you receive a compliment and diminish that statement with a negative statement? Sip that tea and sip it slowly.
Do you have it?
Our thoughts become things. Most of our thoughts are really make believe. Most of our thoughts about ourselves are not even true and is utter BS. I said what I said.
The reason I started Glow for a Living isn’t just for vanity and to paint this picture like I’m perfect. But it’s to showcase that this is a process. A process that is so individual and hard to deal with sometimes, but we find the beauty in the growth of our self esteem throughout the journey. This is about being real and taking accountability.
If the 12-year-old Evie met the grown Evie today, I’m already knowing that she would ask how to cope with what she’s going through in that era of self-identity and self-hate.
I would hold back some tears, some tears of pain, some tears of joy, but mainly tears of hope. Hope for a better future for other dark skin girls going through the same experience of feeling overlooked, undesired, and unworthy.
I would tell her this:
Dearest Evie, Create. Create your true story. Love that story and it will become your reality. At the end of the day, no one else is responsible for loving you except YOU. Glow on, baby.
P.S. — Love this content? Please share with a friend. Let’s keep the movement going!