I believe I was the only girl with freckles in my elementary school. At first I didn’t notice I was different. Then I did, and it was daunting. See, where I grew up, the standard of beauty was having a flawless, porcelain white skin.
One day, I sat my parents down for an urgent family pow-wow to discuss if I was pretty- even if I had freckles AND looked different from everyone else AND the tooth fairy had just collected my two front teeth.
My mom smiled and said that when a person realizes just how nice and charming I was, they wouldn’t even notice that I had freckles. My pops answered that I was a peach in a basket of mangoes and peaches are his most favorite fruit.
I didn’t understand what the heck they were trying to say, so I just took their answers to mean that: not only was I as cute as a peach, but I was charming, too.
And I believed my parents were the all-knowing oracle of truth until a mean girl in school started calling me Spotty. Then, I was confused. I could not help my propensity to freckle any more than that mean girl could help… say…her low IQ (oh snap!)…But for a long time, like most girls, I learned to dislike something that was a part of me….
One summer, while women back home were injecting some anti-oxidant called Glutathione, a wonder drug touted to produce whiter skin, I sat on a Mediterranean beach and watched hundreds of ladies brown themselves to the hue and texture of my grandfather’s antique suitcase.
Whatever happened to loving the skin you are in? This bi-continental lack of self-acceptance made me so sad.. and angry… and I wanted no part of that.
Nowadays, I derive intense amusement at the look of slack-jawed shock in the face of the salesperson at the beauty counter in Takashimaya trying to sell me a $300 anti-freckle magic serum, and to whom I respond: Oh! No No No! I just luuuurve my freckles and I wouldn’t want them to go away. Sometimes, I use my Scarlet O’Hara accent when I say this, just to further embarrass who I’m with!
Mini-sassy has constellations of mini-freckles dusting her nose and I wonder if one day, she’ll have issues with it. When she does, I’ll know what to say. I’ll just paraphrase my parents…
I’ll tell her that if someone is too shallow to get past your so-called imperfections and see you for who you really are inside, then they shouldn’t be allowed in your life. They probably have a low IQ, anyway.
Besides, spending too much time worrying about how you look to others only leads to unhappiness. Spend time DOING good for others and you’ll always feel like the belle of the ball:)
Wherever you are today… whatever you are doing…I’m sending you a cyber wolf- whistle! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
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