Monday night was my first year watching the award show Black girls rock. Here’s why I haven’t always felt a part of my community. For a very long time entering a room full of black people other than my family gave me anxiety. Amongst my own people, I always felt I was being judged because it was all I knew growing up. I thought to my people I had to continually prove myself. In the past, it was the black kids in middle school who teased me, and the black boys who called me ugly. It was my Filipino, Caucasian, Spanish, and Asian friends who seem to accept me and who knows maybe behind my back they did speak ill will about me that I will never know.
These particular situations blinded me from the beauty of being a black girl. The gifts and talents of singing, dancing, writing, and my unique style were the distinctive characteristics that made me a black girl that rocks, but I couldn’t see past the name-calling and bullying. In the midst of my anger and pain, I also began bullying others and preying on weaker people such a vicious cycle to be a part of, and I today am ashamed of those actions.
After high school, I shaved all my hair off on a quest for my natural hair journey and wore full bright skirts and t-shirts. I felt freedom in this my creativity spoke through my fashion and I believed that being in a world of adults I wouldn’t run into the same issues I had in grade school. But I was wrong. There were crude comments made about who I was and how I dressed.
Here’s the truth I was weak, I was not raised in a cloud of affirmations and empowerment. I wasn’t built to be secure in the woman I was nor was I schooled on the power of embracing who I was and how God created me. My upbringing lacked the understanding that working hard and not giving up on my dreams regardless of what others say was the key.
So, understand that I am not blaming this all on what people have done or said to me nevertheless I am saying that our words and actions do have the power to make or break someone. The ability to build or uproot and knock someone off their beaten path even if it’s just for a day.
In my life today, I have come to recognize that I have a little black girl watching me and I have to begin to teach her that her black is beautiful and how else will I do that other than showing her through the way mommy thinks of herself. How else do I show her this other than to do my best to live it out loud in front of her. How else do I instill the confidence in her other than through prayers, affirmations and teaching her to be a combination of humble and confident.
In the award show, Mary J. Blige said, “It has taken me a while to realize that I am a black girl who rocks.” I can totally attest to this. The affirmation is real, and I plan to carry this in my heart for now on. That as a black woman I rock and as I embark on this path of accepting my culture I will see me as a woman who rocks and that my daughter will discern this, be conscious of this, and brave this.
In all of our cultures, we have been taught that one is better than the other. That whites are superior to blacks. Puerto Ricans thinking, they are better than Mexicans. African born blacks believing they are better than American born blacks. All of these scenarios are a smack in Gods face who loves his children no matter what culture they were birth into. We are all beautiful in the sight of God, and I hope today that we will begin to focus on what is more critical in humanity.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
As for my black mothers and daughters, I hope that we will begin to see that our skin is beautiful, and we genuinely do rock for this main reason- God designed us, and anything he designs is radiant.
“I think the bottom line of everything, even when we talk about healing this colorism issue in the world, is that it starts with healing yourself. Because really, you’re the only person you can control. Work on yourself and treat yourself, talk to yourself the way you would talk to somebody who you’re trying to heal.” –India Arie
My prayer today:
That no matter who we are what color, shape or size that we love who we are and not desire to be someone else. For loving ourselves gives us the strength to love others as ourselves. We who are parents will begin to teach the three ways of love which are to love God, ourselves, and others.