Growing up the darkest one in the family I got a lot of, “How are you Glenda’s little sister?”, “Are you sure that’s your mom?” Internally I would just think, “No, I just like calling random women mom.”
I have two sisters who are light skinned and they look exactly like my mom.
I felt insecure for some part of my teens because people would call me names. Those socially accepted words like “mantsho” and “mnyamane”. Even those who are close to you would call you by the names to show “affection”, wtf right?
I felt like I needed to hide my skin. My clothes were mainly long jeans and long dresses. I would wear long socks and long sleeve shirts to school. My skirts would be below the knee because because who wants to see my thighs…
Unfortunately for society, my mama raised a warrior and she showed me how I didn’t have to tolerate anyone calling me names. I specifically remember one time a friend of hers referred to me as “mantsho nyana” which means dark one, my mom gave her a piece of her mind right there. I stood in awe.
She would consistently tell me that I shouldn’t listen to people who called me names and that no matter what happened, “I am her beautiful baby girl.”
I held on to that even though it is not always easy to ignore the outside world.
I only started wearing short skirts and shorts in my 20s. I grew into my skin and finally felt like I belonged there. I guess I just got tired of not liking myself when I lived in my skin 24/7. I started playing with clothes that looked good on me. Dancing in my underwear to very loud music.
The more I did it the more I got to know this other side of me, like her, fall in love with her and make peace with the girl I will always be. I fell HARD for my legs.
A decade later I am the best version of me I’ve ever been. I can go into a shop and buy the shortest or longest skirt there because I can rock either and make it look AMAZING!
There’s only one you. Why withhold the love and peace you could give to yourself because of other people’s opinions.