The Little Princess – A poem by Sanisha Wynter for Black History Month

It was hard.
Growing up and attempting to be accepting of the reflection in the mirror.
Living in suburban areas. I stood out.
Not because I was taller than my peers, Nor because of the stutter that spoke volumes
of my anxiety and my fears. Not even because of my lazy eye that if you
look hard enough it’s about two seconds behind.
One thing about me that you can’t help but see is my skin.
Before you know my name, You can see I’m black.
A skin tone of a hot chocolate or dark coffee, Whichever is your preference.
And my skin tells a story, before my lips even open.
It connotes a tale of struggle, hardship and finally success.
It has its very own historical, social and cultural context.
Just. Like. Yours. Growing up,
I couldn’t understand why my nose spread across my face when I smiled so I usually didn’t. I didn’t understand why her gums were pink
and mine… Was dark like a smokers, when I had never
smoked in my life. A lover of Disney films, like the Jungle Book,
‘ I wanna be like you ou ou..’ And not me
I placed so many negative connotations on being black;
I tried my best to hide it. I would speak with a higher tone to mask my
natural bass. I would wear clothes to hide a figure celebrities
now pay for. I thought I had everyone fooled
When the biggest fool was me.. My teacher had told us we are all the same
“We don’t see colour” But I did.
I do. I see your colour and respect it
Do you see mine too? How can you expect me to love my skin, if
you don’t want me to acknowledge it? We should have been taught to accept our differences
Instead of acting like they don’t exist. When. They. do.
Because I learned the hard way No matter how I spoke.
No matter how I behaved. My deception was flawed.
My skin revealed the truth about the black woman I tried to hide.
I did not learn to accept my skin and the stereotypes that came with it.
I grew to love it. I realised through the eyes of others the
insecurities I found in my blackness they loved.
My full lips, the sway of my hips.
The fact I could lie in the sun for hours. No longer, phased, bothered or intimidated
by walking into a room and not feeling like I belonged.
I felt special to be the only one. My heels clacked the loudest,
With my head held high. My friends saw me as a black queen, an empress
And I believe it to be true. Every little girl, should believe they are
a princess. Black, brown, white. You are beautiful too

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