Dear Me

The skin I’m in. To love me.

Will+Katcher

Will Katcher

By Konah Brownell, Collegian contributor

“Dear Me”

Dear me,

I want to start by saying

I love you

And I’m sorry I haven’t loved you enough

I’m sorry it took awhile for me to love

The skin I’m in. To love me

 

Dear me,

But why did you choke on the word “love”

Afraid to look in the mirror

Afraid to meet the gaze of the pair of eyes that would stare back

Eyes that hold so much pain

Who taught you to hate yourself?

Dear me,

It has been a while since you reached out

Who taught me to hate myself you ask?

well…

TV commercials, advertised chemicals meant to tame my fro, lighten my skin.

Meant to make me pretty, but they only shattered my self-esteem.

They told me to be beautiful. I had to change. I couldn’t just be a black girl.

I wouldn’t make the cut

My dark chocolate just isn’t sweet enough

 

And I believed them…

Believed I was ugly

Believed my black was dirty

Believed I needed fixing

If I wanted the boys to like me. If I wanted to be pretty.

And so, I scrubbed at my skin like my blackness was a sin.

Dear me,

Listen up

You’re done repenting

You’re done apologizing for being black

You’re done allowing yourself to be disrespected and objectified

You’re done shutting up and standing back

Do not forget you’re a black girl

And black girls are born warriors. Natural born fighters.

Do not forget how far you’ve come

Do not forget that you’re a queen

Do not forget that even the sun

Bows down to your melanin

Do not forget Harriet Tubman, Coretta King

Do not forget the courage of Claudette Colvin,

who refused to move to the back of the bus at just 15.

Do not forget your ancestors were Queens

Amina, Nzinga, Nefertiti

All-powerful leaders. All beautiful black women

 

Dear me,

You are a beautiful black woman

You are a powerful young woman

You can do anything you set your mind to

And if no one else does

Dear me, I love you

 

Konah Brownell is a Collegian contributor and can be reached at [email protected]