I Love Being Unapologetically "Dark"

I Love Being Unapologetically "Dark"

Not everyone can have the melanin I have.

Growing up as an African American female, I have learned that there are definitely challenges that no one can really prepare you for. There are some lessons you have to learn on your own, like when it comes to loving who you are, it comes from within, and not what other people think.

When I was born, I definitely didn’t look anything like I do now. I looked like some sort of Southeast Asian baby, which makes me question if those are really my baby pictures, or if there was a brief baby mix up that my parents never told me about. As I got older, I started to get my darker complexion. When I was younger, I would hear comments about my dark skin color, but that didn’t really matter to me. When you’re young, you somehow know and accept that everyone is made differently, so having darker skin wasn’t a big deal to me.

It wasn’t until I got older that I realized being dark had a negative connotation.

Going on family vacations was always a norm for my family. My brother and I were blessed enough to go on annual family vacations during the summer, in which we’d spend hours at the pool, beach, or anywhere outside. To say we got dark during the summer would be a huge understatement. I say this because the first thing people would say to us would be, “Wow, ya’ll got really dark” as if we didn’t already know.

During the winter we both look like dark chocolate Hershey bars so just imagine what we look like during the summer.

When people would comment on the shade of our skin, it wasn’t what they said that bothered me; it was the look of disgust that followed their words. I always got confused as to why it was such a horrific thing to be dark, but when you’re young you’d rather think more about how much fun you had while getting dark rather than people’s weird reactions.

Even though I received negative remarks about being dark when I was younger, I didn’t really think much of my skin color.

I didn’t think much of it until high school when there was some unknown consensus that how light or dark you were was the determining factor of how pretty people thought you were, which I always thought was crazy because I’m a daddy’s girl and I have always been pretty. In my high school, people would shame dark skinned girls for their complexion, but would admire the white girls who were spending legit money to try and say, “I’m almost as dark as you!”

As I got older, I finally understood the disgusted and confused look people gave me when they told me I was getting darker in the summer.

People were confused as to why I was out during the summer because they expected me to stay in the house so I wouldn’t get darker. Or, if I stayed in the house during summer people assumed that it was because I was trying not to get darker when it was actually because I'd rather stay inside with air conditioning by myself versus being surrounded by people I don't really care for in the heat.

Can you really fault me for that?

Anyway, being dark has never been something I have been ashamed of. Now, some people think differently about the shade of my skin, but that is their issue. I have always been happy about my skin color because...

1. It’s beautiful.

And 2. I can literally wear ANY color without having to worry about if it will clash or wash me out or whatever other issues people worry about.

As I enter my last year of college, I notice that some people don’t have the luxury of being secure with their skin tone. I witness people worried about getting darker, so they stay in the house. Or they believe that sunscreen will save them from being a shade darker (it doesn’t). It makes me sad that people think the only way to be beautiful is to be lighter, and it isn’t true. What makes me even more upset is that it isn’t their fault.

Actors and actresses with darker skin for some reason are always playing the stereotypical roles of black people that are less flattering, or they are playing supporting roles. I mean even in black films, it’s the same.

Think of Tyler Perry movies, the lead protagonist is always a stunning light skinned actor or actress, while the best friend or antagonist is always darker. Yeah, Tyler Perry may have an all black cast, but there is still discrimination within shades. There is still that bias that is sending a message that the lighter the skin, the prettier you’ll be or the more successful you’ll be. And although that message is being sent, it doesn’t mean that message is true.

College is the time that you get to meet all different types of people with different backgrounds, which is my favorite part. This past year I met an African American who lived in Europe for most of his life, and moved back to the states in high school. During our time of getting to know each other, I quickly learned his passion for tennis. It was something he always talked about and took so much pride in.

While sharing his passion with me, I learned that he had at one time been hesitant to play because he was worried about getting darker. Learning this I was completely caught off guard because someone legitimately considered giving up something they loved, in order to entertain the idea that being dark is a bad thing.

Thankfully, he realized how wrong that idea is because he continued to play tennis. His once insecurity is his most embraced feature because it doesn’t make him who he is, but is a part of his uniqueness. His decision to do what he loves has impacted many of his teammates; leading him to experiences and people that he’d otherwise never meet.

With skin you’re insecure with you have two choices: be the beautiful that you think other people want you to be or be the beautiful you already are.

You don’t need to shame yourself for being dark by staying in the house, bleaching your skin, or putting yourself down. Each color is unique, light or dark. It is important to show people why the color of your skin is alluring, why your shade is special. My darkness is glamorous, and if want to lay outside in the sun by the beach and get darker than I will, because that just means I will rock the colors I choose to wear even more gracefully.

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Dear Baby Boomers, Please Stop Dissing Millennials For Ruining The World

If I had a dollar for every time a baby boomer complained about our generation, I'd have enough money to fix the economy they ruined.

Baby boomers, those who were born between 1946 and 1964, love dissing millennials.

They think we’re lazy, self-centered, entitled, and a whole lot of other things. They diss us on the news and write shady articles about us, saying that we aren’t prepared for the real world and that we’re the reason behind hookup culture (even though hookup culture started decades before we were born).

Millennials are constantly told by older generations that we think the world owes us a favor.

Bad news for the baby boomers: you’re the ones who are entitled!

There, I said it. They can disagree with me all they want, but here’s why they are the worst:

The boomers ruined the economy and it’ll take generations to pay off. Our national debt is now at around $17 trillion, larger for the first time in recent history than the size of our entire economy. And it’s projected to continue to significantly grow over the next few decades unless something dramatic is done to reduce it. But of course, they don’t want to take responsibility for it and blame it on younger generations.

They are, thank God, the last reminders of our racist, homophobic, sexist past. Remember when you learned about the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and were appalled to the fact that there was legal racial segregation everywhere? There was segregation in schools, diners, cinemas, public transportation, and even water fountains. The boomers went out of their way to make it almost impossible for blacks to vote. Other than racial segregation, it was so infuriating to see how much effort the boomers made to dehumanize anyone who wasn’t a WASP, male, and straight.

They say we millennials have it easy — says the generation who was able to buy a house on a wage from unskilled work at the age of 21. Millennials are working nonstop both through jobs and their academics just to be able to live paycheck to paycheck. Nowadays, you will need at least a master’s degree to be able to make an affordable living.

Listen, baby boomers, we’re fed up with your crap! Stop saying that our country is screwed when you all ruined it a long time ago. The list goes on and on as to why baby boomers need to stop dissing us millennials. The next time a baby boomer throws shade towards you and other millennials, just brush it off, keep moving forward, and enjoy your fulfilling, negativity-free life.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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6 Things You Did As A Kid That Make Sense Now That You're Out Of The Closet

"Why am I so obsessed with gay people?" *years later after coming out* "Ah yes, I am a gay people"

Before you come to terms with your sexuality, there are some habits you may form that relate to your preferences. Here are 6 things you might have a done as a kid that totally make sense now that you're out of the closet:

1. You were obsessed with gay celebrities or family friends

If a celebrity came out or you found out a family friend was LGBT+ you always just started liking them more than before. The celebrities were always famous but now you looked up to them in other ways and your family friends were tangible examples of being successful and happy as a gay person.

"Why am I so obsessed with gay people?" *years later after coming out* "Ah yes, I am a gay people"

2. You would always ~politely~ stare at gay couples when you saw them in public

You'd be in the grocery store or at the mall and you'd see two men or two women holding hands and automatically they became the most interesting and beautiful thing in that place. You would have a weird urge to talk to them even though you knew that was inappropriate or weird. But they gave you hope (especially if you lived in a conservative town or city).

3. You got excited when a gay couple was shown in a TV show or movie

Your favorite show or movie probably had a person from the LGBT+ community. It amazed and excited you that Hollywood actually showcased someone who was gay!

4. Hearing men say "my boyfriend" or "my husband" and women say "my wife" or "my girlfriend" was somehow therapeutic to you

You'd overhear a conversation and with out realizing, that stranger just came out to you. You found comfort in hearing these words and you automatically felt connected to that total stranger.

5. You always got defensive or hurt when the LGBT+ community was bashed or a gay joke was made

Even though it makes sense now, you used to never understand why homophobic people made you so pissed or why the word "f*g" or "d*ke" made you so uncomfortable.

6. Secretly wanting to be friends with people who came out in your school

You were in middle school or high school and someone would come out. It would be the talk of the school and people probably had more negative than positive things to say. But you were excited! You were proud of them even if you didn't know them. You wanted to run up to them and say "its okay!" or "me too!" but you were still coming to terms with who you were. But regardless of where you were in your self discovery, you definitely wanted to be friends with those who had the courage to come out of the closet.

Cover Image Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/vbeGoD9a5tI

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