Since I was a young girl, I loved novels. Novels were how I dealt with having no friends at school, no siblings to tease at home and no imaginary friends to play pretend ball with. I'm the type of reader that regardless of age, gender, sexuality, etc. of a protagonist I place myself in their shoes and see the world through their eyes. And by default, I have seen the world through many Caucasian eyes.
One of the most descriptive phrases that every other book I have read is as follow "...and she has rosy lips..." I have also red many permutations of this phrase as well: "scarlet" "cherry" "lush pink" etc. But every time I have read that type of phrase, and I have read that phrase 100s if not 1000s of times, it always takes me out of the world that I had engrossed myself in. Part of the reason for this is the fact that my lips simply aren't rosy, cherry, pink or any other variation of that. I have a dark upper lip and a red tinge lower lip lined in a chocolate sort of brown. And in my nearly two decades of reading, only but once found a book to describe my lips. And I recently distinctly, It was in one of Jhumpa Lahiri's short stories when she wrote something along the lines of "...and her beautiful grape colored lips." I swear on everything holy, my heart fluttered. It fluttered because I didn't know to simply and beautifully describe my lips, because I had never read it before, and thus I concluded that they weren't pretty or worthy of adoration. And yet, when I read Lahiri's words, I knew I had been wrong, I just hadn't put my feet into the shoes of a character like myself. And the impact and importance of that, even though I am constructing these characters in my head is still important, because I am the one who gives them life and meaning, it is mutually assured admiration.