My Skin – July 7, 2010

I love my skin. There are so many different shades and tones in it, but there’s also something unique about it that I cannot quiet explain. I love the color of it and how I’m pretty much a perfect in-between of my parents. I love the texture of it most days. During the winter, of course, it’s the bane of my existence, but that’s just because it needs a little extra care.

I am fascinated by my skin and how it changes colors. How light it gets during the winter when the sun hides for weeks and I’m all covered up against the cold. How my face and neck darken as I turn upwards to greet the spring sunshine. I should probably put on my swimsuit and lie out for a bit on these bright sunny days, try to even up my color a bit. Tanning costs but sunshine and fresh air are free.

Naturally, there are things that I do not like about my skin but they are things that can barely be fixed, if at all, because they are genetic. For the most part, though, I love my skin. It’s taken me 20+ years to get to this point. I remember distinctly telling a friend in middle school that I wished I were white with blonde hair and blue eyes because “that’s what boys like”. I bought into the mass-marketed, Barbie-esque bias just like everyone else. I truly thought I wasn’t good enough. If I had participated in the Clark Doll Experiment, I would definitely have chosen the light-skinned doll as the better doll. I never had dark-skinned Barbies or dolls; I don’t remember owning a single one. They were always so plain; you rarely ever saw them in the specialty versions like Birthday Barbie or Princess Barbie. They were always just the plain old cookie-cutter Barbie.

I hated my skin in middle school and junior high. Acne, growing pains, stretch marks. Meh! Hated it all. Hated myself, what’s more. Had to be perfect, had to be good, had to be what everyone expected. If not, my life would crumble down around my ears and I would be alone. But that’s an old vent. I remember feeling rather mousy when I went to college, since I was a year younger than most freshmen, the frat boys that I and some other froshes ended up doing community work with called me a little pup, which helped me decide to turn the hose on them. I remember beginning to feel comfortable with myself towards the end of college but never really feeling pretty or thinking that I could be pleasant to look at. I was partially comfortable with myself, yes, but a huge part of me still wanted to tear my skin away and start all over.

Ten years later (wow!), through a lot of soul-searching, self-examination, some therapy, and ripping down to what is just me and no one else, along with the love of family, spouse, and dear friends, I have begun to like myself and how I look. I’m not perfect, never will be, but I can be happy with myself. I love being in my skin. I know that I’m never going to be a supermodel or pin-up girl but that’s OK. I think I do pretty well right now.

The Clark Doll Experiment:


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