Brown Beauty

She sat up, briefly glancing at her reflection. An action she could not avoid every morning since it hang opposite her bed. Most mornings she would avoid looking in that direction. And should her lazy eyes focus for too long, she’d turn her head. Her skin too dark, her hair too frizzy, her nose too pointy. Too many faults to be beautiful. Too much to deal with first thing in the morning. 

But this morning she did not turn away. She looked at herself, really looked. Her hair was glossy, roughly tied back, sweeped to one side. Delicate, gold hoops hang from her ears. Her lips were like berries, deep in colour and plump. Her skin clear and glowing. Her eyes framed with thick lashes and brows.

And in that moment she loved herself.

She loved the nose that people would call an arrow. She loved her mismatched eyes, one lid creasing more than the other. She loved her crocked hairline. She loved her outrageous hair that would not be tamed. She loved her brown beauty.

And she imagined what she would look like with a gold nose septum, draped in a yellow saree. gold bangles around her arms.

“Like a queen,” she thought.

It’s Fine Friday! What parts of yourself did you grow up hating? Do you love it now, or are you still dealing with those insecurities? 

For me it was mostly my hair. Curly or frizzy hair is looked down upon and I think that’s a common thing among a lot of brown and black communities. I grew up thinking there was something wrong with my hair and I could fix it  with products. Simultaneously refusing to use oil since only “freshies”* did that. I wanted western products – not realising how toxic they were and how they weren’t designed for me. Admittedly, although I have started to deconstruct this way of thinking, reminding myself that my hair is from my ancestors and I should not fall into the trap of idealising eurocentric ideologies of beauty, it is still something I struggle with. I notice how I prefer my hair when it’s flatter and therefore less frizzy, even subconsciously. Just goes to show how difficult our surroundings make it to love ourselves if we don’t fit the “ideal”. And let’s be serious – no one fits that because it doesn’t exist.

So to those ideologies I say

South Asian women saying "Screw You"

And although sometimes I need reminding, I will continue trying to love my brown beauty.

*I have used this here to explain my line of thinking and the language used at the time. I now understand how damaging this is and would not use it to describe anyone.

13 thoughts on “Brown Beauty

  1. A guy’s thoughts:
    A genuine smile ( not a tiny one, but huge wide open smile) makes most women beautiful.
    Women need to work on not only considering themselves beautiful, but also considering other women beautiful. Seems like only on occasion will guys disparage women (although yes there are the jerks who do it a lot), whereas I hear women making catty remarks about other women’s looks and body and clothes all the time. If I was a woman hearing all this stuff, I’d be self conscious about my looks / body too.

    Liked by 1 person

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