Yesterday was beautiful, however, there was one problem. The sun, it’s what many could call black girl kryptonite. For as long as I can remember my mother scolded me for playing outside in the sun all day and allowing myself to get a tan. Even now as an adult, my mother still insists that I put sunblock on every time I leave the house. Now I know that my mother’s advice is out of love, and that it is important to keep your skin healthy and protected from the sun, but what’s wrong with getting a little tanner?
After stepping out of the shower last night, I was upset, I was clearly a shade darker from being out in the sun all day. The obvious tan lines contrasting against my skin almost outraged me. I had been putting on what I thought was sunblock but ended up being sunscreen all day! I closed my eyes for a second. Was I seriously upset about getting darker? What was wrong with it? Did it change who I was? For the first time it actually seemed ridiculous. My skin has always naturally tanned easily, I could be out in the sun for 10 minutes and come back inside with a fresh layer of color, it’s like magic.
It was after looking in the mirror yesterday that I finally realized there is nothing wrong with my skin. For years I have fed into the ideology that dark skin is unattractive, and I didn’t want to fall into the category of something that wasn’t considered beautiful. After years of being scolded each time I got a little darker, I realized I was programmed to automatically fear the sun. But the truth is I absolutely love the sun, so why should I constantly hide from it? The facts are my skin is the way it is to protect itself from the sun, I was made for this kind of weather.
As I continued with my after shower rituals, I reminisced on when my husband first introduced me to my father in law. The first words that my father in law said to my husband privately after meeting me was “So you like the chocolate?”. Now many people would be offended by this, but I wasn’t. I chuckled as I imagined my father in laws reaction to me. Yes I am a black girl and my skin is the color of chocolate I should be honored! With that being said, yesterday I decided that I was over trying to make sure that I didn’t get any darker. Instead I got my phone out and turned up Chocolate by The 1975, which has absolutely nothing to do with race, but everything to do with drugs, addiction, and running away from the police. Strangely enough I compared this song to my skins addiction to the sun, no matter how much a run away, my skin is “never gonna to quit it”.
No matter your color, embrace yourself, and embrace your skin! Your skin is the way it is for a reason. Whether you’re very light or dripping with melanin, care for your skin but don’t let what happens naturally to stop you from loving the skin you are in. Of course you should make sure to protect your skin from the sun, but don’t go overboard. If you are someone that has a high amount of melanin, take it an run with it. Let your skin soak in the sun like it was meant to. Go swimming, go hiking, or whatever outside activity you enjoy without the fear about getting darker. Embrace your inner and outer Chocolate.