As I sit here and write this, I am watching the Tyra Show and today’s topic is “Bleaching for Beauty”. She’s talking to six Black women who bleach their skin because they are a darker complexion/dark skin and wish to be a lighter complexion/light skin. They feel “ugly” and inferior because of the color of their skin.
Beauty and what it means to be beautiful has been an ongoing issue with people in general, but more specifically with women – from young girls, to teens, to young and older women. Well, for some women in the Black community this issue runs deep – skin deep. To them, beauty is defined by the complexion of their skin. And according to the women on Tyra’s show and many other women in our community, Black is most beautiful when it is a lighter complexion, complimented by a “good” grade of long hair and a set of light-colored eyes.
I was talking to a friend today, and our conversation inspired me to write this post. You see, she’s on a journey – as we all are. And recently, her journey took an unexpected turn. I suggested she start a blog [writing can be therapeutic and because her journey can inspire others]. Initially, she was apprehensive. It’s scary sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with others – I know. But then, she said something that made me think: “if only she could see herself through my eyes”. She said that she doesn’t think she has a story to tell; that her story may not be as “dark” as others. But I say everybody has a story to tell. Your story may not be like mine, and my story may not be like yours. But, it’s a story just the same. It’s a part of our journey, and it may very well help someone else through his/hers [journey]. I asked her permission to share the details of her journey and she agreed. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to share a piece of her with you, and I hope that her story inspires you as much as it inspires me!
My 15-year-old brother loves to cook, or shall I say concoct dishes. Hungry and frustrated by the fact that no one would let him “borrow” money to order a pizza, he decided to make pancakes – for the first time…
He starts off following the directions on the box, but I offer my assistance anyway.
“Does this look right,” he asks me.
He’s holding a bowl full of clump, explaining how he decided to cut the recipe in half. It’s his first time, and he’s already making adjustments. From the looks of it, it seems that he cut the amount of water in half, but not the amount of mixture. He says otherwise.
I tell him it’s a little too clumpy and to add some water. He agrees and adds more water. He takes out a skillet and continues to stir the batter.
Sometimes, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
Two days before Mother’s Day, my mom bought three roses: a red one for me and my brother, and a white one for herself. As she gave me my red rose (symbolizing that my mother is alive), she recalled how when she was a little girl, she hoped she’d never have to wear a white rose (symbolizing that her mother is deceased). And with a sigh she said, “now, here I am having to wear a white rose.” My grandmother passed 12 years ago, and although this was the first time I’d heard my mom say this, I was sure that she’d thought about it each year during Mother’s Day as she went to put on her white rose.
During church Sunday, a few members performed a skit called “Don’t Drive Your Mama Away”. To sum it up, it was about a woman with two sons; one “good” and one “bad”. The good son became a doctor, got married, and invited the mother to live with him while the bad son continued to get into trouble that eventually landed him in jail. Eventually, the “good” son’s wife insisted that his mother be put in a retirement home because she was “getting in the way” and against his better judgment, he agreed. The mother was hurt and disappointed. But, in the nick of time, the “bad” son came around and offered to take his mother in; saying, unlike his brother, he didn’t have much money, but she was welcome to what he did have. And she took him up on his offer.
The play ended with the “cast” singing these lyrics: God gave you your mama/Don’t drive her away/If you drive her away/You’re gonna need her help one day/I’m no stranger, don’t drive me away. [Apparently this is a song by Shirley Caesar]. As they sang that song, I couldn’t help but notice an older lady sitting in front of me sobbing and I could only imagine what she might have been thinking/feeling regarding herself or her own mother. Then, I too began to cry. And as the tears rolled down my face, I couldn’t help but think about my own mother and how those lyrics – so true – pierced through to my soul.
Ever since I can remember, my mother has always been there for me. She always made sure I had the things I needed, Continue reading →