Have you taken a moment today to look around and see if anyone else looks like you? Has the same shaped eyes or nose? Skin tone or hair texture? Mouth or even the way you walk? Have you opened a book lately and a reflection of you stared you in the face?
Imagine if you will that the answer is no. That the reflection you see in the mirror you rarely run into elsewhere. That unless you are with your family or around your neighborhood there is no other representation of you. The magazines you love and the shows you watch don't reflect anyone you know or the things you do. How your mother cooks or the games you and your cousins play. Where you go shopping or the music you enjoy.
illustration by lovequotesimg.com
I have a wonderful teacher and she is I am proud to say, my daughter. I can't express enough how much she means to me and all she adds to my life daily. If you happen to be blessed enough to have younger people around, please listen and learn. They have plenty to teach and we have yet so much to still learn. I must start recording our conversations because I just can't retain all the info sometimes coming from just one session lol.
Our chat the other night bought a few tears to my eyes and a pain to my heart. As a mother it is always difficult to hear when our children have suffered unfairly, been bullied or felt out of place and questioned who they were. It is tough to realize that at some point they may have thought they were just not good enough. It was a tough pill to swallow for me when this conversation was over.
Innocently enough it all started with comments about her going to see the new Disney movie Home. Voiced by Rihanna, Jim Parsons and Steve Martin just to name a few. I asked if she had a nice time, was it fun etc..her response was "I had a great time but got a little teary afterwards when I left the theater." I asked why and she said "because I saw a little girl stand next to Tip's poster and tell her mom look! she looks just like me!!!" As my daughter recounted this moment her eyes swelled up with tears again, that shocked me.
illustration by tumblr.com
As she continued to share, she expressed that when she heard that she could relate. For the character Tip, voiced by Rihanna has a head full of curly hair. She looks like some of her friends and family and people in our neighborhood. She looks like her! I've never heard my daughter talk about feeling different ever but it goes to show and showed me, that society's views do affect those in the outside of what is considered normal. My daughter continued to share in detail the many years as a child growing up around other kids that didn't really look like her and the things they would say.
She spoke about times she wondered why her hair was so curly or if it was indeed so different. Times when she questioned if it was wrong of her to like her hair as it was. Should she straighten it, relax it, cut it? Days that people would make comments but think they were being nice as they said it. Both children and adults alike. She said even today when people comment "oh your hair reminds me of Diana Ross" and look at her sideways. Or when she gets stopped and asked if its all hers and is it soft.
All this made my eyes get wider and wider because I couldn't believe it. How rude, cruel and nasty. Is anyone asking Britney Spears or any of the Kardashians why they put extensions in their hair? Why some people pay hundreds to get some waves on their flat hair? Why Tanning Salons are such a big business? So many questions could be asked but aren't, why? Is it because some people can get away with stuff just because it could be the latest style while others who look and live this way on a daily are not normal?
I don't like to ride in the car where every thing that happens leads to a town called racist but more and more each day I see that when I don't acknowledge it or understand it I will always have it parked right outside my door. I am baffled to still hear comments in relation to skin color, hair, style of dress etc...When a commercial or a television program shows a loving non white family it's not realistic but when it shows non whites acting like fools its totally believable. When a non white sports a nice hairstyle it can't be her real hair but if the same style is on someone else everyone wants to copy it.
illustration by galleryhip.com
This is a plea to all mothers. We have more power than we know. Yes fathers matter but I am speaking to the moms. Why? Because females are known for our excessive sensitivity or so that is what we have been told for far too long.
-next time you see a little girl that doesn't look like your daughter instead of seeing what is different look instead at what is the same.
-next time your son wears his hair a certain way don't gravitate to an exclusion but instead praise his creative form of expression, its only hair!
-next time your teen visits a tanning salon or goes to the beach to get "dark", remember some people already are a variety of these shades naturally and it isn't a fashion statement. If you find it "cute" to tan then why is it not "cute" to already be dark?
-next time your daughter picks up a book to read, be grateful she can find a character to relate to because for a very long time many of us couldn't.
-next time you're about to use the word bad to describe someone or something that is not like you why don't you try to replace it with the word different?
I don't want to bash anyone I want to start a conversation, provoke a thought. I want words to be used carefully and wisely. The same way we want as females to be treated equally and fairly is the same way we should treat those that are not a reflection of what we see in the mirror.
I am not a b word because I speak my mind but when I do men call me that. I am not cocky because I am confident in my skin and love who I am but others that are not like me say I am. Some people say "everyone" has their place, I say "my" place, my daughter's place and every one's place is the same.
Thoughts that come from a mother daughter chat. What do you say? Share your experiences and views, respectfully please.
Always stress free xo.