Becky with the Good Hair : "The Lilly Shoe"
"My family tells me that we're a mistake..." he says over the phone. "That you aren't right for me."
I'm taken aback and let out a chuckle of disbelief. "Are you serious right now? And what do they think is 'not right' about me?" I ask sarcastically.
"I can't tell you."
I realize by his tone that he's not joking about the matter and actually reconsidering our relationship. I'm silent for a few seconds before demanding a response. "Actually, you can. What is their issue with me?"
"They think..." He pauses. "They say you'll dañar la raza [ruin the race]."
I remain quiet on the line. It's the first time I hear such an absurd comment. I'm disgusted.
"I knew I shouldn't have told you," he says.
"No, I'm glad you did. It's sad that your family won't accept me because they can't look past the color of my skin or the fact that I don't have straight hair. But it angers me more to know that you would even consider ending our relationship because of it."
"I never said I wanted to end anything--"
"No, but you implied it!"
"Baby, I don't have an issue with--"
"You DO have an issue actually because you brought it up! You could have told your folks that I'm a good friend, that I've been selfless and loyal, that I'm well educated and driven. But instead you entertained a conversation about my outer appearance!"
We are both quiet on the line for a moment. He breaks the silence: "I'm sorry, Fran. What do we do now?"
"WE do nothing! YOU can go find yourself someone who won't "dañar tu raza" and I'm going to wait on someone who isn't afraid to embrace me for who I am."
Nothing feels crappier than being rejected for who you are. Growing up as an Afro-Latina was difficult because I never seemed to fit in anywhere. I was never "black" enough for the kids living in my hood, and I didn't "look latina" enough for my hispanic friends. Dating in the latino circle was a nightmare because I knew people had thoughts about my skin color and hair texture. There was a constant internal battle to be accepted. It wasn't until I was in college that I began to fully embrace who I am - the culture, my race and ethnicity, and all my physical features.
We live in a world of "selfies" and "tutorials" that constantly reminds us of everything we are not. We aim for the perfect angle shot to hide our features, the right lighting to enhance what we want others to see, etc. And while we can fool the world with our story, we can't run from ourselves. Truth is you live with YOU every second of every day, and if you're not willing to embrace what you see in the mirror every day, no one else will. That has to start with you!
I've met many people throughout the years that are waiting on someone to love them, take them in, tell them how special they are. It's a sad truth, but many people think that their esteem issues will go away once they "find that perfect someone." And while this can be true (in fairy tales), I'm here to pinch you back to reality! No one's love will ever be enough until you recognize your own worth.
So, moving forward, don't sell yourself short. Be true to who you are and remind yourself every day how special you are! Others will embrace the real you when you show them that you've already embraced yourself!
Each post is named after a fictitious pair of shoes. This post is named "Lilly," which means "beautiful" and "pure."