Being called “the skinny girl” for most of my life did a number of things to my psyche. I’d like to admit that I was a strong and was able to take those words like a champ, but the lie detector would certainly determine that was a lie! Truth is, every single time I was called “skinny” it pissed me off and automatically sent me to a place of insufficiency and famine. The word reminded me of what I didn’t have as a small child and the lack of resources and/or support needed to sustain comfortably. Thoughts would flood my head of the hurtful statements I’d hear from alleged family and friends of how I needed to put some meat on my bones and grow some breasts and a butt. The lies I told kids in grade school about my parents (who both battled separate addictions) would resurface and damn near choke me. Oh and let’s not forget the flashbacks of both my mother and father on the streets of Nashville, malnourished. The skinny label handed to me was ultimately a heavy burden and subsequently, I spent a number of years patching up each insecurity I developed around the label. From taping tissue to my chest in the 4th grade to try and make breast & wearing a full face of my Granny’s fashion fair makeup, to my eccentric style of clothing & hair, I made it a point that others focused their attention to anything other than my 12-year-old boyish frame.
Fast forward. Had I known back then that half the world would kill to be my current dress size I would’ve saved a whole lot of tears, energy and money to say the least. I’m not saying my body is perfect, nor am I confessing to being the healthiest in world, but I have realized that listening and responding to what others thought of me was and still is dangerous. Now, the time I spent creating those diversions landed me a couple degrees and certifications in the beauty industry and ultimately a business, so luckily my life wasn’t completely lived in vain. However for the remainder of my time on God’s earth, transparency will be my priority. And because SKIN is my life, you get a front row seat to all of the secrets, tips and therapy involved in embracing the skin you’re in.
Danita Q. Berry
#33 is what I called my “Jesus” year, meaning it was my year to rise up, you know be resurrected in a sense. BUT NOBODY TOLD ME I was going to have to die to self and ego. No one said that I’d be broken down to the depth of my soul and experience moments of pain and despair that would make you cringe. No one explained the true meaning of self love and boundaries and worthiness and how important they were to understanding the real you.
Many African Americans are breaking barriers and becoming comfortable with expressing ourselves and personalities. We display this notion through our hair journeys, makeup techniques, nail and body art and our creative and stylish ensembles.