It was never acute—the self-loathing. While I can’t say I ever felt like a million bucks, I also wasn’t walking around looking for the nearest bridge to jump off of (like some of my angsty, white, adolescent counterparts). While my Caucasian friends were complaining of freckles, acne and what they deemed as overly shapely figures, I had somehow remained untouched by the all-too common experience of adolescent self-hatred. Although I’d never have stepped up on a podium and giving an inspirational sermon on self-love, I still felt like I had a decent relationship with my body and my self worth. I was normal. I wasn’t in love with myself, but who was? I was happy enough with what I’d been given.
But, let’s dissect “younger me” for a minute. If you’d stopped me in the street and asked me whether I hated myself, of course my answer would’ve been a resounding “NO!”. I would’ve rolled my eyes and scoffed. I was a loud, boisterous and confident person, which to me, was sure proof that I loved myself. By my flawed logic, extroversion was just another word for confidence. Yet, if you’d asked me who my favorite entertainers were, I would’ve listed dozens of white, biracial or light-skinned black women, before I listed a singer or actress who shared my complexion or was (god forbid!) darker than me.