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Skinned

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

When I stood and peeped over my grandmother's verandah,  my mother's smile captivated me. I began to appreciate beauty- her eyes matched her smile and I felt so warm inside.

I didn't realize it as yet,  but as a child, I've often been told that I resemble my mother so much; this became a blessing and a curse. By the time I had reached high school, I started to wonder if the twins with fair complexion and very long hair were more beautiful than the rest of us with dark skin and nappy hair. I realized that I was not the only one concerned about their skin complexion because I can distinctly remember a schoolmate who returned to school looking yellow.

I heard that she might have taken a pill which lightened her entire body and I didn't judge her. If someone had made me accidentally taken one of those pills or treatment, I would not have even fussed about it. Mind you, I have consciously rubbed bleaching cream on my knees and elbows; this was  provided and suggested by a caregiver who was always puzzled about my dark knees and elbows. After being introduced, would I have taken the bleaching to another level?


I must admit that after I was introduced to the bleaching cream, it was tempting to put some on my face. Well, I was encouraged to put the cream on some spots between my eyes and cheeks and even until this day those areas are much lighter than the rest of my face.

Notwithstanding, apart from fearing criticism from the church and very well knowing that it would look obvious that my face is lighter than the rest of my body, I forgot about that idea. What I can not forget about is how I once thought that if I had a different skin colour, or if I was white, my life could have been a little more easier. These days, cheaper methods to bleaching are even more accessible: filtering, photoshops, face painting or the art of face makeup- contouring has never been the same ( I have never done it).

So, I  will tell you that on many days, I wish I had access to alternatives to bleaching when I had to prepare introductory videos for English teaching jobs overseas, or I landed some interview on Skype for a job in China and Japan, and although I  would have prepared excellent resumes, cover letters and selected a clean white background, I was confident in myself and abilities, but no so confident about the light in the room not being too bright. This would make me look way darker than I really am or wanting to borrow some other device that may be  so high- tech that it would portray a decent ( lighter) shade of me.

I must let you know that I had received a few contracts for the above- mentioned countries, but on many days, I felt as if I was settling for lowering paying positions because my ideal place of employment in China seemed to prefer white teachers based on parents expectations and such.

Mind you, I was almost looking forward to being a star as my predictions and research showed me that I might have ended up being the only black person in whichever rural part of China I was being sent. So, I wouldn't have mind them stopping me to take a picture or two.

I have never expressed my true feelings about the skin I am in and I look forward to learning more about myself with you and accepting the things which I can not change in a self-care or relaxation session at Terapia Circle (terapiacircle.com).





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