Learning to Love My Dark Skin

I am seventeen years old and I only started learning to love my dark skin two years ago. Growing up, I was always the darkest one amongst my friends and family. I remember my mom telling me that when I was born, that the doctor, my aunts, and uncles told her I was the “darkest baby” they had ever seen. They never said these things in a negative way but as a young child, I didn’t want to be seen as or known as the “darkest baby” ever. Everyone around me was of a lighter complexion to me: my mom, dad, brother and my friends. Up until now, it’s hard to see the resemblance between my mom and I because I’m about five shades darker than her. I didn’t have a single person living in Southern California that looked like me and that ruined my self- esteem because I didn’t understand why I was the only one that had to be dark skinned.

During the time I lived in Nigeria for a bit, I thought I would be able to get a grip on my stance about how I felt about the color of my skin, that didn’t happen. At the time, I believed because I was living in Nigeria and everyone is of different complexions that I would feel comfortable and not out of place. I had people in school when I was in Year Four till Year Seven making fun of my skin tone, saying that i “looked like a gorilla” or telling me to use skin bleaching cream because I was too dark and no one would ever like someone as dark as me. I struggled at this point in my life as I couldn’t understand how people of the same race as me could say such things, at the end of the day we were both black. After I left Nigeria and moved to England, I once again felt out of place, in my group of friends, I am the darkest one out of the four of us and it felt like a never ending cycle of being the one out of place. I remember I went through this phase where all the pictures I would post on Instagram or my annual school pictures I would buy would be in black and white so people wouldn’t be able to tell if I was a light or dark complexion.

I started to learn how to love my dark skin when I saw a girl I follow on twitter, @KINGPR1NCESS start the hashtag, #MyBeautifulDarkSkin almost two years ago. I was a bit reluctant about posting photos of myself and jumping on that train but after seeing the amount of other dark-skinned black girls and guys tweet about similar experiences to mine and them learning how to love their skin tone, I felt as though it was right for me to do so. The movement that she created helped me a lot. I used to want to be loads of shades lighter than I am now, even researching how to get lighter skin because of the bullying I went through. With Princess starting this movement and being able to see other individuals proud about their dark skin, made me want to love my dark skin and I’m still learning how.

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