Colorism Does Not Define Beauty

As A Indian, I Am Proud Of My Dark Skin Because There Are Different Ways To Be Beautiful

I am the color of chocolate bars that melt in the summer sun and of pure, maple syrup drizzled onto pancakes, not of dirt. It cannot be scrubbed away by Fair and Lovely creams or lightened, and it shouldn't be.

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Every couple of years, I go to India to visit my family. I remember one of the first times I visited, going from house to house to meet relatives and eat sweets and swat away mosquitoes in the sweltering heat, when I heard it for the first time. A relative whose name I can't remember but whose voice remained seared in my mind: "Your skin is so dark. You should use Fair And Lovely."

I didn't understand what she was trying to say, but my elementary school mind pieced together the words the best they could. To be fair was to be lovely, and to be dark was a dreaded curse, a corruption, like rust on a once silver bike. Except, it wasn't rust. I always had this skin — this dark skin.

As the months went by, I began to understand what she wanted to say: to be dark was to be ugly.

People avoid the word with backhanded compliments and well-intended yet all the while misguided comments: "You look nice for a dark girl. You would look better if your skin was lighter, lighter, brighter..." And as the years went by, they didn't have to say these comments anymore; I began to say them myself. "You'd be prettier if you were light" became "I'd be prettier if I were light".

Their voices of "concern" became my voice of insecurity.

I began to see myself by the words of others until eventually, they became my own words — the most toxic poison of them all. You can fight the world, but can you fight yourself?

It's taken me years to forget the colorist notions ingrained into my psyche. I still reflexively choose filters that lighten my skin in pictures before stopping myself, trying to remember that my skin is the color of chocolate and not dirt. I still avoid bright colors in fear that my skin will look darker before reminding myself that darker not does mean uglier, that beauty is multidimensional.

I had to say it multiple times, like Dorothy and her shoes, for it to become real. Darker does not mean uglier, does not mean uglier, does not mean uglier, does not mean uglier.

I had new words seared into my mind — words that finally weren't painful to hear. I began to see my skin as it was, rather than what it "should" be. It may have acne. It may be dark. It may be flawed. It may even be unattractive. But the most important thing is that it is my face, and I'm tired of hating it.

I am the color of chocolate bars that melt in the summer sun and of pure, maple syrup drizzled onto pancakes, not of dirt. It cannot be scrubbed away by Fair and Lovely creams or lightened, and it shouldn't be.

I see myself now, and it's a lovely thing, to be seen.

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.
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It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semicolon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.


2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."


3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.


4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."


5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."


6. Greek symbol of Inguz: Where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."


8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya).


9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty, and artistic creativity.


10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love, and creativity or to put yourself into whatever you do.


11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from "The Hobbit." It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.


13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength and stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.


16. A glyph means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."


18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe and the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can remind us of the inconsistency of life. It also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.


SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos


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My Simple Skin Care Routine That'll Keep Your Skin Clear All Summer Long

And hopefully glowing too, even if the glow is just sweat...

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Hi. So I am very proud of my skin and the journey that I have gone through to get it looking the way it does. I don't do much to my face, much to many of my friends surprise and in fact, I've noticed the less I do to my face the better it looks. Here are the five products I use on my face to keep my skin clear and glowing.

1. Simple Cleansing Wipes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZbLjgWs7Xw

Sooooo, I don't actually wash my face. I know!!!!! Ok, ok, calm down. To cleanse my skin and get the dirt from the day off of my face I use the simple cleansing wipes. They work really well and you can actually see the dirt on the wipe which is my favorite part. I would've taken my own picture but I kind of ran out so I'm using baby wipes at the moment, which work just as well for me.

2. Milk Makeup Watermelon Brightening Serum

Nandi Smith

The next few things are a little pricey, but totally worth it. I use the Milk Makeup Watermelon Brightening Serum as a moisturizer and I really like it because you just put it directly on your face and you don't have to rub it in or anything. It makes your skin look very glowy as well.

3. Bliss Ex-Glow-Sion Eye Cream

Nandi Smith

I am a college student which means I hardly get as much sleep as I would like. I use the Bliss Ex-Glow-SIon eye cream under my eyes to help brighten my dark circles, especially after nights where I barely slept or on the days that I have an 8:30 am class.

4. Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen

Nandi Smith

I never used to use sunscreen, especially not daily. But I have hyperpigmentation and have found that sunscreen really helps keep my skin tone even and helps prevent dark spots, so now I'm a big fan.

5. Mario Badescu Facial Spray

Nandi Smith

I've tried the Mario Badescu Facial Spray with aloe and with rose, and I think so far the rose is my favorite. I love the way this spray feels and it's so good at revitalizing my skin during the day. It can also be used as a setting spray for the people out there that wear makeup.

Now, I don't always use all five products every day and sometimes I'm just super lazy and don't use any of them. I also only do the whole process only once a day, sometimes I wipe off my face twice depending on the day. But I haven't had a pimple in a very long time, so something must be working, right?

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