Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lupita Inspired

I listened to the speech she gave this weekend for the Essence gathering she attended. It was very touching and really something I already knew about. For those of you who didn't hear about it or don't know what I'm talking about, she talked about how she felt as a child. She didn't feel beautiful because of her dark skin. There's a saying that says if you're white, you're alright. If you're brown stick around and if you're black get back. This isn't just something from before the Civil Rights Movement. I've heard people make comments about darker skin and how lighter is better. I didn't hear these things until I left home and joined the Army. This is where I was truly mixed with all sorts of characters.  My husband told me a story the other day he went to basic with a guy who claimed he'd never seen a real black person before ... WHAT?! When you live in one place for so long you assume every place is like that and it's crazy when you hear other things.
I think my parents did an outstanding job with how they educated me on what it means to be a minority and what it means to be a good person and how 1 shouldn't influence the other. It's no secret I have a white mom and a black dad, I married a light skinned black man and we have 3 beautiful black children. I make this statement because in my adult life I have been asked many times what I am and I say I'm half and half. People have actually said to me "Oh then you're black. Where do you draw the line? You have to be one!" No I'm both 50/50. I draw the line at 50/50. I don't have 1/4 white and 3/4 black kids ... I have black kids, I am a mixed woman. It's simple. My mom carried me and both my parents raised me. It's BOTH their voices in my head telling me to do my best not just one or the other and to say I'm black denies my mother and to say I'm white ... well, no one would believe me and that would deny my dad which I refuse to do on any level at any time for any amount of money. Will not do it.  Being what I AM is OK! and beautiful. My background is beautiful and it's not beautiful because it makes up this fabulous natural tan that people pay money to get. It's beautiful because through the filters of generation my background has produced fabulous human beings (and not just on the outer layers).
No matter how great my parents did and really growing up I don't remember thinking that I wasn't enough. That I wasn't beautiful or at least cute. It was drilled into me that being kind and polite was beauty not my face.  With that said, in my adult life especially in my 20's, like Lupita, I felt that mixed wasn't ok. Again I wasn't going to claim one side or the other, but there's no one like me. There was Halle Berry, but she fell into the "must choose" hole of doom. I think as people and not just women we need to sit down and answer the question "can you describe yourself?" and if you start with your skin tone or a physical feature then there needs to be a re evaluation of self. I did this test on myself and I started with things like I have black hair, brown eyes. No, no, no, no. That's not ME! I'm kind, I'm strong, I love my family. THAT'S what matters. Not what you're outer is. Leave that for your driver's license (even some of that information maybe false).
I used to hate that question "What are you?" "What are you mixed with?" because then it was usually followed with "Oh then you're black". I hate the saying "Big, Black, Beautiful Woman". Do you see how it's written? Black comes before beauty. Being a color doesn't make you beautiful or ugly. It's a physical description that should have no barring on how people really see you. REALLY see you. Beauty is something you have inside, like this glow that you're holding on to. It's almost like playing a sport. Either you're good at tennis or you're not. I can buy the tennis outfit and the gear, but that doesn't mean I'm good. I can put on makeup, workout and wear the in style and doesn't mean I'm beautiful.  You can practice that sport or being kind and that comes from INSIDE! You know I haven't worn makeup in about 2 weeks and yesterday at the drive through I got an actual wink! Yes an actual WINK! Does he do it to all the gals? Possibly, but if I got a wink it means I was enough to get a wink, right? If I was not polite at the speaker would I have gotten a wink? Probably not.
You ARE enough ladies and gents! You can be as dark as you want or as light as you want and it does not matter. I KNOW I'm saying things people already know, but I don't think people actually believe it so until people believe it I will drill, drill, drill this in to at least my kids. 
I know this blog is off my usual topics, but Lupita really spoke to me and what I have been thinking for awhile. So what if I say I'm mixed, so what if you choose one side or the other. WHO CARES! What matters if you're a productive and kind member of society. And once you TRULY get that you will feel so much better. Makeup, smakeup ... I mean really!

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