I grew up thinking that I had self-image issues. Imagine being a student all through my school years, fully convinced that I was different from the rest of my peers. I’m referring to my physical appearance of course. It is not what you may be thinking though, I did not have body issues. My weight did not pose a concern as I’ve always been slight shaped in my formative years. But then Mother decided to intervene and dosed me with Appeton Weight Gain as I entered the cruelest academic period that is secondary school. I pumped up kilos upon kilos till I wasn’t 45Kg any longer. FYI, those years 45Kg was the yardstick for us girls. I heard nowadays it is 40Kg or less. The more your bones stick out from the flesh, the better and hotter you are. Score!
Anyways, time has not changed anything much when it comes to adolescent kids and their perception on what defines a normal looking person of the similar age. I have always been dark skinned. Or at least darker than most girls in my school. I didn’t know any better. I tried to tell myself that it was okay, that some girls are destined to be vile creatures and that they are not worth my time. What made it harder was my very own friends. Harsh words came pouring out from their mouths like verbal diarrhea on overdrive. Then again, they didn’t know any better themselves. They were brought up in an environment whereby having born fair-skinned equates being well; fair. There was a boy who nicknamed my classmate Blackie due to her unfavourable skin colour. I remembered clearly of the girl who tried to comfort herself by associating the nickname to the beautiful stallion – Black Beauty. Though it was clearly obvious it wasn’t what the obnoxious boy had in mind. What a prick. I knew then that he was going to grow up as a world class Ass.
At such a tender age, the other kids and I were already aware of the importance of beauty and appearance. We were not able to understand what it all really meant at the time (my parents kept reminding me tirelessly that I was pretty and no one had the right to pass judgment) but to go through the same routine like clockwork, seeing the same people and reliving yesterday’s, the day before and the day before that experience was too much for us to bear. I wouldn’t want to be overly dramatic to claim that I was scarred and traumatized during my 11 years of school, but it did make an impact in my life. Whether it was negative or positive is another matter altogether to debate. I survived those years with much effort, patience, determination and hope that in future to come the mindset of general population will improve for the better. 8 years have passed and little have changed I daresay. In other parts of the world, beauty is vast and very subjective. In the society we live in, being fair is what matters. Case in point; I recently discovered that most international cosmetics line do not carry whitening products. ‘Specially formulated’ ones are designed to cater specific target countries/audience (note:Asia) and are only sold in certain regions (note again:Asia) I truly can’t grasp the idea of wanting to be fair skinned. If the reasons are not superficial, then their actions are both justifiable and understandable. This is Malaysia after all. It is hot and humid almost all year long so I get that majority of people just want to maintain their existing skin tones. But then again, sunblocks, umbrellas and daily regime of super supplementary diet can be used as preventive measures. I am happy to share that as I crept slowly to my 20s, I begin to respect myself more and have since developed a deep appreciation towards the shade of my skin. I’ve managed to even out my tan and have had strangers and friends alike complimenting my skin colour. I’m proud of my tan lines as they are always stories behind them and I make no attempt to disguise them as well like I once did to simply avoid public scrutiny.
So there you have it.
I decided to see the glass as half full despite everything.
I’m dark skinned and loving it. Hurrah!