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Dear Me

By Konah Brownell

Dear me

I want to start by saying

I love you

And I’m sorry that I haven’t loved you enough

I’m sorry it took a while for me to love

The skin that I’m in. 

To love me… 

Dear me

But why did we choked on the word love

Afraid to look in the mirror

Afraid to meet the gaze of the pair of eyes that would stare back

Eyes that hold so much pain

Who taught you to hate yourself?

Dear me

It has been a while since you reached out

Who taught me to hate myself you ask?

TV commercials… Advertised chemicals meant to tame my fro, lighten my skin. 

Meant to make me pretty

but they only shattered my self-esteem. 

They told me to be beautiful I had to change. 

I couldn’t just be a black girl. 

I wouldn’t make the cut. My dark chocolate just isn’t sweet 

enough.

And I believed them. I believed that I was ugly

I believed my black was dirty. I believed… that I needed fixing

If I wanted the boys to like me. If I wanted to be pretty. 

And so I scrubbed at my skin like my blackness was a sin.

Dear me

Listen up

You’re done repenting

You’re done apologizing for being black

You’re done allowing yourself to be disrespected and objectified 

You’re done shutting up and standing back

Do not forget that you’re a black girl

And black girls are born warriors. Natural-born fighters!

Do not forget how far you’ve come.

Do not forget that you’re a queen

Do not forget that the sun

Bows down to your melanin

Do not forget Harriet Tubman, Coretta King

Do not forget the courage of Claudette Colvin

who refused to move to the back of the bus at just 15.

Do not forget your ancestors were Queens

Amina, Nzingha, Nefertiti

All-powerful leaders. All beautiful black women

Dear me

You are a beautiful black woman

You are a powerful young woman

You are capable of doing anything you set your mind to

And if no one else does

Dear me, I love you

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