For the Chocolate Women...

Last Sunday I ate at Busboys & Poets with my mother (post-mass ritual) and had an incredible experience. I say incredible because the Lord's power never ceases to amaze me. He truly works in magnificent ways.

 My family church is St. Augustine, the first black catholic church in Washington, D.C.

My family church is St. Augustine, the first black catholic church in Washington, D.C.

Lately the Lord has been speaking to me through others. Last Sunday was no different. Our waiter was a woman of my skin complexion. After pleasant introductions and taking our drink orders she left the table, but quickly came back.

She knelt down next to me and said, "I wasn't going to say this, but something told me I needed to. I need you to know that you are amazingly beautiful."

The statement caught me off guard. I don't usually hear those types of statements outside of family and friends. Here was this beautiful soul inside of my skin looking at me and acknowledging my own light, my own soul.

She sat down and we talked about what it was like growing up with our chocolate skin tone. How brutal some jokes could be and how long the journey was to self-confidence, especially in a world where the only beautiful black women acknowledged in the mainstream world were brown or light-skinned.

Stunning picture of actress Viola Davis.

I look around at our world now and smile at how the mainstream world isn't just embracing the Kerrys, but also the Violas; not just the Jadas, but also the Lupitas. In this day and age, dark skinned women are celebrated and last Sunday this woman celebrated me.

Yet there was one problem, this conversation was long overdue. Yes, I still have those days when I'm not feeling my best, but nothing equates to those years I avoided mirrors and never prided myself on anything but my mind.

A conversation like this to my 12-year old self would have opened my young eyes to how beautiful my skin really is. Not just my hair, my body or my eyes, but my skin. My smooth, even and, most importantly, CHOCOLATE skin.

I encourage you to take the time to introduce yourself and those around you, especially the youth, to healthy self-confidence habits:

Spice your life up with this GIF. #carefreeblackgirls

  • Place self-motivating post-its on your bathroom mirror. It's somewhere you look at everyday and forces you to think about yourself in a higher light. Check out this list of inspirational quotes from beautiful black women.
  • When people give you compliments, take them. Don't respond with insults to yourself.
  • We all have a list of influencers who give us inspiration in our daily lives. Make sure to include some men or women on your list who look similar to you.
  • Personally, I make sure to take time out of my day to take pride in how I look. Not for others, but for myself. Even if I stay in the house all day. It reminds me that nothing, not even schoolwork, is more important than my self-knowledge, my self-confidence and my health. Good in means good out.
  • Most importantly, make sure to always speak on someone else's beauty. Not just their beauty on the outside, but their beautiful nature. Nothing boosts one's self-perception than a complete stranger acknowledging that light, someone with no bias.

Lastly, from human to human, I need you to understand that even though we should lift each other up, no amount of outside recognition will ever satisfy you. True confidence comes from within.

Sincerely,

A Care Free Chocolate Girl

--- Ms. Parker ---