*The title is taken from a book by Sharon Flake, about a young black girl’s struggle to love herself.
I remember watching music videos and wanting to be that girl. More specifically, Beyoncé.
I cried because I was never going to be “5’5, brown eyes, with thick thighs” My mom didn’t understand how crucial being Ja Rule’s ‘down ass chick’ was at that age.
aunt would tell you the infamous story about how I cried on Christmas because I wanted a white Barbie when I was like 5. That story makes me cringe to this day, and I realize how deep this self-acceptance thing runs.
Lastly, I recall middle school and being best friends with the most popular girl, and we had been since elementary. Once we got to middle school I began to notice how different we were. She was really into boys I wasn’t. She had developed breasts, I hadn’t. People just wanted to please her & I was just a brainy oddball with a bad attitude.
I wondered why she wasted her time with a girl like me.
I mean, my grandmother didn’t allow me to hang out at Yellowstone Park with all the cool kids late into the night. I was so skinny. Plus my grandfather did not spend his hard earned retirement on designer clothes and shoes for us. Still, Ciara understood me. Even when people ostracized us and tried to convince her to stop being my friend. She told me I was beautiful and always believed in me.
But then there was one day before art class in 6th grade. Ciara told me that the other pretty light skin girls, Della & Savadra, decided that I was lame and not cool enough to be associated with her if she were to be associated with them. Just like that, our friendship ended.
Today, I don’t hold anything against Ciara. I almost forgot it happened.
I reflect on my silly ambitions to be Beyoncé, or light skin, or curvy. These childish thoughts make me smile, shudder, then shake my head. Now I understand that my superficial desires about my appearance partly stem from wanting to identify and look like my biracial mother, because of course every young girl wants to be just like her mother. I figured if I looked like her she’d come around more, she’d love me more. (Tears forming)
The journey towards self-love is a constant influx of good and bad thoughts about myself. I am happy to say that I am consciously on this journey. I will not be robbed of the beauty that is God’s intention for my life. His Beauty for me that is mostly unseen.