FAT, UGLY, & BLACK

10:39 AM

Happy Wednesday lovebugs! In honor of Hump Day, I figured I'd share a "getting over the hump" story. But this isn't just a story of surviving your week. It's a story of surviving that "hump" in your life. You know those moments, situations, and decisions that make or break you. Yeah, this is one of those. So, here's a story of overcoming the hump!

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By the time I was in ninth grade, I already had really low self-esteem. On more than one occasion, I had been called out for being dark skinned. Once in fifth grade, my teacher thought it would be appropriate to use me as an example of "how dark certain tribes of Africa can get." Or there was that one time when my friend's little brother cried and begged his mom not to let me in their car because he could tell by my skin tone that I was "dirty."  

I was also often teased for being heavier than the average ninth-grade girl. Hell, I was already a DD by SEVENTH GRADE for goodness sake. Boys (and girls) at that age were pretty ruthless and I was constantly being informed that because of my dark skin and larger figure, I was ugly. On top of that, the media was always there in the background, providing few examples of women who looked like me and more women who looked like Angelina Jolie or Beyonce. Either way, I was losing.

So, by ninth grade, I felt pretty terrible about myself. But, I managed to mask it really well. Until one day in September 2002 that I'll never forget.

School had just recently begun and I was still learning my way around the "big kids campus." I was pretty shy and often quiet unless I was around friends. I remember I was wearing an orange shirt that day and I was self-conscious of it. I didn't like wearing bright colors. I was quietly walking up the stairs in between classes, books in my arm, calculating the path to my next class when all of a sudden, an upper-class male student (who also happened to be dark-skinned) started screaming at me in the stairwell. At first I had no idea what was happening or who he was talking to, as I was minding my own business and alone. When I realized he was screaming at me, my heart sank.

"Ugggggghhhh, look at this UGLY, FAT, BLACK B*TCH!" He yelled, his friends snickering around him. "GET OUT OF THE F***ING WAY!"

"I...I'm..." I stuttered, trying to comprehend what was happening.

"WHAT?!?!?" He yelled, "YOUR FAT A** CAN'T MOVE??!?!" His friends continued to laugh in the background. In a panic, I looked around for help. No one I knew was nearby, but there was a glimmer of hope when I noticed a few upper-class girls shaking their heads at his ignorance. Nevertheless, while I could see sympathy in their eyes, no one came to my defense.

Finally, I managed to whisper a soft, "Whatever..." as he continued his tirade against me. I held my head up high and marched up the stairs in a dignified manner. After all, I'd always been taught to never let anyone see me weak or hurt. The mask of, "Whatever, I'm fine" was easy to put on, but really, my legs felt like jelly. I thought I would shake the very foundation of the high school with my tremors of shock and shame. I finally stumbled my way into a secluded bathroom on the second floor. I cried my eyes out for a solid 5 minutes. I looked in the mirror and I hated who I was. I wished I could snap my fingers and become light-skinned. I hated the girl I saw. I wish I looked different, that my skin wasn't so...dirty.

The teasing continued past ninth grade. And with each incident, my self-loathing grew. I remember one day, crying to my mom about it, and she told me,

"Those same guys who make fun of you 
will be the same one's after you later. Wait and see." 

Fast forward to 2009. By that time, I was growing into my own as a woman. I started to love my dark skin (and now, I'm in love with the skin I'm in!). I lost the baby fat and unexpectedly developed curves! I remember posting a photo from my 21st birthday that year, and wouldn't you know it, that night I got a friend request in my Facebook inbox. And it was him. The guy who yelled at me in the stairwell in ninth grade. I accepted his request and immediately got a direct message from him: "Hey, what's up Pam. Damn girl, you're looking good! I was wondering if you'd like to hang out some time?"

I can't really describe what I felt when I saw his message. It wasn't vengeance. It wasn't anger. It wasn't cockiness. I felt...surprised. I felt relief. I felt like my mama was right all along. Because she was!

But more than anything, I was grateful that I started to see beauty in myself before he did. 

I didn't need him to notice. He and any other man noticing is simply a bonus.

As a grown woman looking back, I feel compassion for that angry teenage boy. I wonder what his life was like at home. I wonder what he had experienced to make him so careless, so terribly mean at such a young age. And I look back at that young, beautiful, dark-skinned girl...and if I could say anything to her, I would whisper in her ear,

"You are so worthy of love. You are so beautiful. Your melanin is made from the DNA of Kings and Queens. And this situation right here? 
This is only temporary." 

While I can't go back and undo the past, I could respond to this young man's present inquiry. I must say that was probably the most joyful, "No, thank you" I've given to a date invitation. And to this day, that story feels me with contentment.

Cheers to getting over the hump, baby girl. Cheers to becoming all of who we are, unapologetically.


#loveyourself  #embraceyourself  #becomeyourself

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14 comments

  1. Love this, beautiful! You are amazing. -Ashley Lauren <3

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    1. Girl, you know my love for you runs deep!! You're the best ❤💋

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  2. This spoke to me, Pam! I had similar experiences growing up. Thank you so much for sharing this. I love you, my beautiful friend. - Joe Guy

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    1. Joe!! I'm so happy to hear from you :) we keep growing and learning and getting better :)

      PS - CONGRATS on your weight loss!

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    2. You too! I'm so happy for you!

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  3. Love the post, Pam! you are making me want to get back to blogging. Lord, knows how many tears I shed in middle, jr., and high school over my looks and wishing I looked different. Thanks for your encouraging workds

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    1. Me too, so many tears. While I still don't understand why these things happen, I'm grateful for who we are today ❤

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  4. This story was emotional, thanks for sharing your experience. You're a beautiful soul :-)

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  5. This story was emotional, thanks for sharing your experience. You're a beautiful soul :-)

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    1. Thank you SO much!!! I'm happy we've found each other, looking forward to seeing more from your site!

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  6. I can totally relate to this! I was overweight the majority of my life and high school was tough. I wasn't bullied much thankfully, but I always felt bombarded by ppl and images that I believed represented what I should have looked like. I finally came into my own and blossomed in college. I'm thankful that you have been able to embrace your beauty and reflect on a time of pain with triumph. Congrats to you.

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    1. Thank you beautiful! And the same to you. Like a flower that's late to bloom, we blossom anyway ❤

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  7. This almost brought tears to my eyes. I went through a very similar situation and thought I could die every day at school through the teasing. Luckily I began to see the beauty in myself. Thanks for writing this.

    Ella x

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    1. I'm happy this spoke to you, but sad you had this experience as well. Cheers to us for overcoming! We are worthy of good things ❤

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