If you’ve ever been on Tumblr ever or follow dark-skin empowerment Instagram accounts and simply can’t relate with the sudden glow that these people acquired whilst puberty or during high school in general, I’m glad to let you know, it’s OK. You’re fly anyway. I can’t relate to losing 30 pounds, finally accomplishing my hair battle/journey, or mastering the perfect wing-tip because I haven’t.
I’m 17, never owned a makeup related item ever, and no, I can’t do a twist out by myself. Does that make me any less? What am I supposed to do if I don’t look like a whole snack? What if I’m not a tall glass of wine? Maybe you feel the same way. Well, good people, let’s figure it out.
Just because you still haven’t discovered your style, maybe you’re still rockin’ the wardrobe from last year, or while everyone else is experimenting freely with their wash n’ go routines you still release your hair upon the care of the person you trust the most (your hairdresser), does not mean you’re doing something wrong.
These images constantly shared and praised in the media basically promoting what most people see as desirable? The ones that include the acne-free caramel skin, super defined curves with the lingerie under those giant fur robes, topped off with the perfect natural hair, whatever that means? Now, I don’t know about y’all, but I don’t fit that description under any and all circumstances. My skin is darker, my hair unrulier, and my bank account is simply too dry to afford expensive fur robes and lingerie. But just because my reality isn’t being reblogged on Tumblr and Instagram doesn’t mean it’s not good enough.
I love the inclusion (but not the fetishism) of colored faces in the media and representation is everything to me, but if I don’t fit the stereotype of “beautiful black girl” and then I’m just a “black girl,” what then? Am I supposed to wait for some type of Glow Fairy who will anoint me on a predetermined night while I’m sleep and I’ll wake up and only then will I be upgraded to a rebloggable “beautiful black girl?”
I’m not a carefree black girl yet and apparently, the black girl magic genes must have skipped me because what pops up when I search the term on social media looks nothing like me except for the color of their skin. So if I don’t meet the requirements of being a “beautiful black girl” or a “carefree black girl” or possessing the coveted “black girl magic, then where do I fit in? I guess I’m just a black girl who identifies less with her outer appearance and more with what she thinks and feels and writes and hears.
Honestly, the Glow Fairy can mind her own business and stay to her roster. If I’m not on it, it’s gucci. I don’t need a hashtag to tell me my worth and nor do you, dear friends. If you are featured on those sporadic #Blackout Days, then hip hip hooray, darling, you’re a star and you’re gorgeous and super fly. If you have love for but can’t seem to find yourself amongst those who live for Blackouts, you’re a star, too, dear child.
But don’t let anyone’s beauty intimidate you to the point that you question your own. You are beautiful, even if you don’t see yourself represented in these “inclusive” movements. If you don’t see space for you, make your own space. You are strong and powerful and loved.
Thalia, 17, also created art for this story and is a senior at DeKalb School of the Arts.