I’ve often been mistaken for Malay, Thai, Filipino or of mixed parentage due to my tanned skin and unOriental-like features.
It’s kinda fun.
But it also hurt when I was younger.
I was often at the receiving end of thoughtless remarks such as “Wah, your mum ate a lot of tau ewe (black soy sauce) when she was pregnant with you, is it? You’re so black!” BLACK. Ouch.
In high school, after our physical ed classes or house practices, some of my classmates would run into the classroom or a shelter nearby and rub their fair skin vigorously. “Aiyer!! (Eww!) Now so ugly already, so dark!” And I would swallow silently, looking down at my own arms that were at least four shades darker than theirs.
My mother is fair. Why couldn’t I be born fair? My mother has naturally good skin, lustrous hair and an amazing figure. I inherited none of those. Hmmm. (Got to be grateful I didn’t inherit my father’s “figure” though. LOL!)
I hated myself throughout my years in secondary school.
Why couldn’t I be smart or well-behaved like my koko (older brother)?
To compensate for that, I would swing from being very mischievous to being really sweet to receive the attention I needed and craved for.
It took many years of discipline and breaking before I finally came to a point of surrender.
Choosing to accept the way God made me – the way I look, the personality He has given me, my mental capacities…
I’m still working through this journey – beyond accepting myself just because I’ve no other choice to truly rejoicing and celebrating the gifts and physical attributes He has graciously blessed me with.
While I want to strive to be a better daughter, sister, friend, teacher and woman, I’ve got to break free from this feeling of needing to strive for perfection in order to be loved.
I am grateful for my family, my mentors, my friends who truly love and accept me unconditionally. THANK YOU.
Thank you for overlooking my flaws and for laughing along with my quirkiness. Thank you for affirming the good things you see in me.
I love you.