BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: LEARNING TO EMBRACE ME
BY MISS ACTIONOLOGIST
Why did it take a third of my life to embrace all of me? When did I stop loving me? I know the answer to the latter: I never did.
My family all sang the same lyrics: “You big-lipped, black nappy-headed-look-just-like-yo-daddy-wit-dem-big-lips-fool.” until I believed it. I truly believed I was as black and ugly as they come.
The following is a childhood story that almost changed me forever:
In my second grade class, we had to create a profile silhouette of ourselves. Our teacher (let’s call her Mrs. Price) instructed each of us stand sideways in front of a bright light, next to a wall with white paper pinned to it. I could feel the gentle heat of the lamp massaging the right side of my face and neck as she traced the voluptuous curves of my forehead, nose, lips, and chin. I could feel the fidgety stares of giggling kids as they watched Mrs. Price etch the outline of my profile. I grew hot, flushed and embarrassed, desperate for her to hurry. What took only minutes seemed like a lifetime in my little mind.
After carefully following Mrs. Price’s instructions to cut around my atrocious profile, I sloppily pasted the black paper against a lighter sheet. It was my turn for Mrs. Price to hold up that ghastly piece of artwork for the rest of the kids to see. They laughed in unison. My eyes met the freshly waxed floor in shame. I felt like I was the center of a joke…
I’ve always wondered why I brought that cursed piece of artwork home. Maybe, something inside of me hoped that someone would tell me it would was beautiful just like me. I took the messy cutout home and hesitantly laid it out for my cousins and grandmother to see. Even now my heart breaks when I recall the giggles that came from, not only my cousins but from my grandmother. I remember shouting, “It’s not funny!” My grandmother retorted, “Oh, girl, shut up, ain’t nothing wrong with…