I had always been proud of my complexion. I mean I couldn’t have loved it more.
The fact that I hated it when people referred to me as ‘dark’ and preferred ‘chocolate’ did not mean anything. Neither did it matter that chocolate wasn’t particularly a colour used as a complexion to describe people.
As far as I was concerned, I just favoured it as an alternative word; there was nothing wrong with that.
It did not dawn on me that I wouldn’t resort to euphemism if I was really comfortable in my skin as I professed.
I just relished in the way I was created or so I thought, till I got to my third year in the university and everybody around me was either fair; almost-fair, close-to-fair or wanted-to-be-fair.
It wouldn’t be reasonable if I didn’t pick a team now, would it? Nobody really liked miss goody two-shoes no matter how well-intentioned and I did not want to be sanctimonious, anyways.
In consequence, my argument that I wasn’t really dark – except for my face, which I claimed was solely due to the constant exposure to the sun – gained momentum.
I was so busy being myself or so I thought that I did not notice my self-esteem had hit an all-time low. You can imagine my bewilderment when realization hit me in the face like cold shower on a chilly morning.
The realization came in the form of a woman I admired grossly; she was everything I wanted to be at her age. Married with kids, a fulfilling career, nice body, rocking car and a good fashion sense on the side.
What more does a girl want?
She sold clothes to my roommate and somehow became a constant presence in my room.
On this enlightening day, her customer was not in, so she sat on my bed to wait for her. I came in; saw her and my mouth curved automatically in a smile as I greeted her.
The next thing that came out from her mouth was like my worst nightmare. “Oh blacky, how are you?” she replied innocently.
My hitherto curved lips immediately twitched and I could feel my face contort in a huff. I couldn’t believe she could look at me and call me ‘blacky’.
I knew I was dark but that word was just the height of degradation; I was a far cry from black, I was not even in the same street as black, I thought, pissed.
My resentment at her term for me was so intense it shocked me myself. I didn’t get why I was in a snit over a term that was given innocently.
It finally hit me after I had asked everybody who cared to listen if I was really that dark, that I was bordering on getting agitated over my complexion.
I decided to dust my dress and face the hard truth. I am black but newsflash, I am also beautiful. I began to feel better when it dawned on me that I also happen to be in good company.
Pastor (Mrs.) Folu Adeboye, Pst. (Mrs.) Faith Oyedepo, Pst.(Mrs.) Folashade Olukoya, Ibukun Awosika, Michelle Obama, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf , Lupita Ny’ongo, Abike Dabiri, Oprah Winfrey, Mo Abudu, to mention but a few are all dark.
Their complexion did not stop their greatness, as a matter of fact; one of the driving forces that pushed Lupita to fame was her shining black complexion.
Are you in my shoes worrying about how you look and almost giving in to do something about it? And don’t we all know what ‘doing something about it’ means?
Just take a minute to think about all the great women in our association and spend all that time and money you want to use doing something about it to work instead on your content like they did.
Complexion is not a determinant of greatness, content is. Don’t let the world deceive you, its standard of beauty is fickle and if you keep confirming every time there is a change, you would totally lose yourself.
Look good but don’t lose your value while at it because eventually, nobody cares about an attractive container that is empty inside.
There is a reason why you would never go near the bottle of some drinks, no matter how eye-catching the packaging is but would rather settle for the unappealing bottle whose content satisfies you.
At the crux of the matter, you have probably heard this a million times but it is no cliché, you really are fearfully and wonderfully made.