I never noticed I was black until I moved to North America. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, uhm…what… you weirdo? I don’t mean that I didn’t know that I was of African origin, and that my skin was darker than most of the general population, and that I was of a black race. What I mean is, growing up in the UK, race was not something I noticed because there were many different types of races everywhere. Yes, I was black…and so was about half the people in my High School. I can definitely say I lived in a happy, comfortable bubble for most of my teen years, until something I considered awful (at the time) happened. We moved country.
And can I just say we didn’t just move from one city to another, but worse, we moved to the countryside. Yes, yes, we did. We moved to a little country town that has a fruit in it’s name. I am not going to go into detail of how my sixteen year old, city girl persona struggled with this awful (at the time) adjustment. Let’s just say “struggled” is an understatement.
No longer was most of the population where I lived a mixture of races, but rather, predominantly white. No longer did I not notice my dark skin tone…oh I noticed. In the new high school we’d moved to, I vaguely remember my sister and I being called, “the black, british girls.” I would hear people in the hallway (american/north american term) or corridor (british term) say things like, “..have you seen the black,british girls?” or “have you heard the black, british girls speak?..” Not that any of those terms were mean or anything, just different. That’s one way I can describe the move to North America. It was different. Things were…different. The people were different. The town was different. The culture was different. I no longer felt safe and comfortable. I felt different.
Very soon, I started to act like it. I tried to fit in with this new culture and new country as most would try to. I tried to be less me, and more them. Less British, and more Canadian. Less black, and more white…and that was one of the “different” things I struggled with. I was at a loss with my identity. I didn’t want to be classified as black first, and a girl second. I would over-analyze if I was being too “black”. If why I didn’t have a best friend in Canada like I’d had in England was because…maybe I was just too, “black”. If people didn’t necessarily “get” me because of my skin-tone/race/skin color. I would often try to make up for my appearance. Make up for my race, by being sugary nice, or funny, or something other than me. Makeup for the skin I was in…
I used to feel like I had lost a piece of myself in the move to N. America. It’s crazy because with God, I’m reforming my identity. It’s been slow, but it’s been beautiful. I no longer care if I’m being too “sassy” or get offended when I’m labeled as the “black girl”. I’m learning how beautiful, how unique, and naturally gorgeous it is to be black. To have dark caramel skin. I am learning to love my tightly coiled curly hair that bounces with life, I’m learning to treasure my African heritage. My skin absorbs the sun’s rays and my hair defies gravity. God teaches me daily how much he treasures me. He whispers into my ear how he made me in the secret place for His very purpose and for such a time as this. I am wonderfully and fearfully made. When the world tells me that I am not enough, he says that I am, He says that there is no flaw in his beautiful creation.
This one’s for any colored girl who has ever felt like her skin is a defect, and her culture is a flaw. Better yet, this one’s to ANY girl who has ever felt like she is not enough.
“…You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” -Song of Solomon 4:7
Here’s a dinner outing I had a week ago with some of my beautiful friends! hastag melanin, hashtag black is beautiful, hastag yaaas.
Until next time beauties