Being a black girl wasn’t easy for her, especially in a community where everyone made fun of her. They made her believe she was something less because she was black-er.
The saddest thing was she let it get to her.
If we take this back to '06 you will see that this girl had so many insecurities. For someone so young she was already perceived as the stereotypical "angry black woman". People used to ask her "for someone your age you should be playing *mahumbwe outside with others instead of being indoors finding more and more things to hate about yourself". Wakarwadziwa nani, they used to ask - who hurt you?
What they didn't know was when she went outside she would get laughed at about the colour of her skin. The irony was some of the jokes about how dark she was were made by people whose skin was yellowing and turning orange from using bleaching creams. At that time the discolouration and misuse of skin bleaching products didn't bother her. She thought everyone who wasn't her shade of black was automatically better than her. In fact she was envious.
One day she got tired of the teasing and feeling low so she asked her mum to buy her the cream to make her lighter. She knew exactly what the product looked like as she had seen it advertised on TV and some of her cousins used. In fact on somedays she would sneak into one of the cousin's rooms and put a bit on her face hoping for an overnight miracle.
The miracle didn't happen and the prayers she made before she went to sleep were not answered, on some occasions fasted, hoping to fast track her request. She began to think maybe she was put on earth as a mistake. Why would God not answer her prayers after all it was one simple request: to whiten her complexion.
She decided if God wasn't going to answer her prayers and if her mum wouldn't let her use the bleaching cream she was just going to scrub herself harder, maybe that was one way of removing the dirt. She stayed in the water longer and still didn't get the results she wanted. The other problem was her mum was starting to complain about the water bill, ugh some people just didn't get it!
*Zimbabwean version of playing house and/or dress up.
With everything around her reinforcing the idea that it is better to be a yellow bone than dark skinned, she wondered what society's main goal with the humanity of black people was. Everywhere she turned it appeared that skin bleaching products were being advertised everywhere and she saw them alongside daily essentials such as bread, eggs, milk and tea. Was it just her imagination running wild or was the availability of these products another mechanism to debunk the notion that black was beautiful? Was it a brainwashing mechanism?
As the years went by she decided that her fate had been delivered, she was the black sheep of her family. She worried that if she got married she would be treated like the house maid by her husband. She worried that she wouldn't be able to find someone who would want to have a family with her, hold her hand or even leave the house with her.
The worst part is her worries were confirmed by the people around her especially the adults. They were supposed to be her anchor and she was supposed to feel safe instead she felt broken inside. How she longed to put herself back together again at night only to wake up and be reminded of the cruelty of the world around her.
She was tired.
Beauty didn’t exist in this girls’ eyes. As there was no self-love, there was no love for others. She would see some darker version of her doing great things like modelling on tv. Instead of being proud of them and how far black people had come, she would laugh at them while on tv thinking she’s better than them because they were darker. She would think to herself that she would commit suicide if she looked like that.
What was wrong being the darker skin colour? Nothing, it was just the way society way built. Hence, she didn’t know or understand the saying, “The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice”. This whole hatred was deeper than the surface, resentment got in the way. Subconsciously she wanted to be them, she was dying to have the confidence they had. It was not just confidence, it was the main ingredient, self-love. These people she saw on television and read about in gossip columns were amazing and the world loved them. One of the amazing people featured was Lupita Nyong’o. She fell in love with Lupita without even knowing it. Society put a label on her beauty, they called it “Black Girl Magic”. She began constantly searching for this black girl magic as if they sold it at the local town centre. If she could just find a way to ask Grandma for some directions to a witchdoctor without Grandma calling the church to come over and pray for her because she had become possessed then she would be the happiest girl, maybe she could ask the witchdoctor direct for some of this magic. She wasn’t going to miss out.
This girl never believed anyone who ever called her beautiful. The only definition of beauty she had ever seen was light skin or white people. How could she trust one person that called her beautiful instead of the 99 family members and strangers that told her their favourite time was 12:01 am, 00:01 is the time of night when it is the darkest according to Scientists and that reminded them of her.
Instead of a simple “thanks” to the person that called her beautiful, she would switch to fight or flight mode and point her flaws on her own, all she would say was “but I’m black”.
Why couldn’t anyone let her know, yeah you might be dark but you’re dark and lovely.
She endeavoured every day to go to school knowing almost everyone would laugh at her. This daily routine was a little wacky now, where were the solutions? When was the name calling, the roasting sessions ending? Clearly at that point, God was deaf and wanted nothing to do with her so she had to make it on her own. She had to put a stop to the bullying, discrimination and colourism. Enough was enough!
This girl was numb, she couldn’t feel the pain anymore, she was already damaged In fact, she would laugh with the people making fun of her during the roasting session. Sometimes she would laugh, but sometimes she couldn’t bear it, the words would go to the heart to the point that she would cry herself to sleep. This was another secret she had locked up in her treasure box of misery, but it seems the treasure box was getting a little to full, with no real treasure inside. All she wanted to do now was to leave the country, start a new life that included having skin colour of her choice and getting rid of the nonsense in her treasure box. All she needed to do was to become an adult. She couldn’t wait for the part where she would be able to bleach herself, she couldn’t wait for all the times everyone will look at her and how pretty she was and she would marry whoever she wanted. If only life had that fast-forward button.
Her dreams finally came true!
She had been given a second chance at life as she migrated to reunite with her family in New Zealand. Colourism was still in existence but it wasn’t as bad, at least she had expected it to come from the white people, she was prepared.
White people would be amazed at how black she was but felt like she was treated like an extinct animal from the Zoo, everyone wanted to touch, some would even take pictures. She found it abnormal, but only because was she was used to what was a totally different life.
As time went by she accepted what was with a little hint of gratitude, she was still slightly hating on every black girl that came across that showed they were happy with themselves but she was better with judgements.
Time was ticking diary, she couldn’t wait for the day she was going to be an adult so that she could chase her dreams of becoming Beyoncé or atleast her assistant, that would mean she got noticed.
Clock still running, this girl let go of herself. This girl was going to school looking like Nhamo (poverty). She was a hot mess, it was the way she presented herself from head to toe, even the fairy godmother couldn’t help. Her reality was exactly like how she felt inside, lack of confidence and self-love were required ASAP no rocky. It had been confessed that some people were confused about her gender, questioning if she was male or female. Obviously, her love life was on negative zero, no offence to her but she wouldn’t want to date herself either. As a result, she would walk past the mirror with eyes glued shut, she never wanted to look at herself in the mirror. Mirror was her worst enemy and fear.
We can be touché today and fast forward to the future. I’m talking today, right now, this moment. The same girl that started this story is now the woman who is always “on and popping”, she is glowing and she looks like royalty. Guess what diary, this young woman has passed the legal age to being an adult and she’s still in the same colour skin from birth. She couldn’t ask for a better skin colour, she now understands that God didn’t make any mistake, in fact, he knew her worth, it was just going to take her time to realise and appreciate her melanin. Of course, she’s not perfect, she’s still working on herself and all the most important thing is that she finally found pure true love at the age of 21, that love is herself. With that love, she’s able to love others and she knows it will take her very far in life as life is an ongoing journey, learning as she goes.