So I recently bumped into one of my colleagues whom I had not seen in months thanks to the horrible shifts we endure. This is the same girl whose recent Facebook pictures have left mouths hanging, wide open. Over months this girl had literary turned into snow white. Her lips were the last piece of her once brown, glowing skin.

Judging by the frequency of her Facebook uploads this was definitely a dream come true for her. I could not look her in the eye either because I did not want to give away the look of disapproval and a bit of jealousy. Why was I jealous? I had been a “fair skinned” girl all my life and even though I had never admitted it openly it came with added advantages. I guess “fair skinned” barely goes unnoticed and I enjoyed the envy on “the ordinary women’s” eyes who constantly ambushed me for my skin routine. Nobody could understand how my “latte skin” was all thanks to good genes.

A part of me felt like I’m entitled to my looks and the added perks of course, something more like a talent and sets one apart. For one to fake the one thing admirable about me meant my value was depreciating. It just felt unfair that I could never buy a miracle cream that will make me a good soccer player then why should there be a cream that copies my trait. In groups we would sit and gossip about this girl and her shameful acts. But I knew that a large part of the gossiping was fuelled by jealousy.

Alone in my room I tried to understand the psychology of a girl who wants to look like anything but herself. Read a list of articles where darker girls confessed their life struggles. After seeing how the darker skinned girl who had made it was greatly celebrated, as though it is unusual for “their kind” to climb ladders, I was stunned. Still I battled to under the psychology behind it all. Miss “admirable me” could not identify with the “wanna be’s”.

Next morning whilst I’m smearing cream across my flawless face something came to my attention. If I truly perceived myself to be flawless why do I spend such substantial amounts on sleek, long weaves every month? I was even surprised by the subconciousness of my behavior. Spending hundreds of rands at the salon without thinking twice and never missing an appointment. Interesting how quick I was to conclude low self- esteem on the skin bleaching girls and once the subject in question changed, I was quick to find reasons for myself imposed modifications. And somewhere in my psyche laid a million reasons why my behavior ought to be acceptable. My heart new the truth, whoever rated skin bleaching an offence must have done the same with weaves because both behaviors serve to satisfy a need to look better. There’s a Xhosa saying that say “iqaqa alizizwa kunuka”, one can never spot her/his own faults. It will take time for me to finally accept that I find my naturally coarse, curly, dark hair faulty. I’m ashamed of it and try so hard to be anything but my true self.

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