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Proud Of My Brown Skin. You Should Be Too!


When I was a kid, I would always get compared with my cousins who have fairer and whiter skin. They were often referred to as milk and I, on the other hand, was coffee. I didn't understand it back then. I didn't understand why they had to make comparisons. I was very young after all. 

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From kindergarten until grade school, I somehow felt that I was at a disadvantage because of my brown skin. My fair-skinned classmates really seemed prettier and more popular. I didn't really care so much because I thought I was also popular in school.. but for different reasons. 

I was a top student and the class valedictorian, the editor in chief of the school paper, president of the student body organization, and I represented our school in every district and division contest that ever existed - yeah including table napkin folding! I excelled in all aspects (but well, except math and sports).

Sorry I just have to throw it all out there to support something I'd like to say later on. I'm sure you and I know how technology and the media have greatly influenced how people think of themselves. Today, I'd like to say something that's truly based on my experience and how I overcame it. 

If you've met me personally or have seen me in photos, I really have brown skin. And that has always been the case since I was born. I used to hate the fact that I couldn't wear bold or neon colors because people would say I'd look darker in them. I also hated that whatever face powder I put on my face, I would never get whiter. 

Was I bullied because I was dark-skinned? Of course. A lot of times. It seemed like the norm everywhere. Which is really sad. Somewhere out there, I'm still probably being bullied behind my back because of my skin color. 

Was I hurt? Emotionally, yes. Did I cry? I might have at some point but I can't remember anymore. Did I wish to have a whiter skin? Yes, from all the angels and saints. 

But know what? Whatever people say about you or do unto you is not a reflection of who you are but a reflection of who they are. I can probably call myself lucky to be equipped with a very mature heart and mind because I never even once remembered being devastated about being bullied due to my skin color.

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In high school, I started to be more comfortable in my own skin. I had a classmate who told me that she liked my skin color better than hers - she was fair-skinned. It was actually the first time someone told me that and I felt happy because wow, someone liked my color! 

As I grew physically and emotionally, I started to love my own skin. How did it happen? I looked at people around me. A lot have brown skin. Why? Because we are Filipinos! And Filipinos have naturally brown skin. That's who we are. 

I also allowed myself to be inspired by others. There are a lot of women who succeeded in different aspects of life and it's not because of their skin color. It's because of their capabilities. Their personality shines and glows. They're beautiful inside and out.

In fact, when I think about it now, the issue of skin color is very superficial. But if you look at it in a larger scale, it's a big deal to most people!

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There are lots of beauty products out there that offer skin whitening. I'm not being a hypocrite either because if you look at the products that I use now, a lot of them actually has whitening and brightening effects. But I'd say that it's because those are the ones mostly available in the market. However, I never wished anymore to have a whiter skin since the time I got comfortable and confident in my own skin. As long as my skin is healthy, then I'm good. 

Sadly, there's always that Filipino obsession to be whiter and be more like celebrities who have perfect white skin. It seems like everyone wants to "belong" to a circle that shouldn't really have existed in the first place. 

I still often hear some friends who get too bothered and worried because they're not white enough for something.. or someone. I just think that it's totally pointless to try to be someone you're not. So I hope that you who are reading this.. who think that you are at a disadvantage because you're brown or dark-skinned, realize that you are not and you never were.

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I have overcome this personal issue long ago because I kept an open mind and heart and never let anyone put me down. I believed in my capabilities and no one should try to tell me that I can't do something. And you should too. You're a woman who is capable of doing great things! No matter what your skin color is, you are beautiful just the way you are.

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You are loved. You are accepted. So be happy and proud of your own skin and stay that way. ♥

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This month, we celebrate the International Women's Month. Let's be more empowered and be proud of who we are. Let's learn to stand and fight for our rights and be heard. Let's also learn to ignore those that don't matter. 

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