As a kid I was an avid reader; I could literally spend the whole day in my room getting lost in my books; oh, how I need to get back to that (assigned readings in high school ruined that for me). Nonetheless, there was one book that changed my entire mindset on loving the skin I’m in and birthed this entire blog.
The Skin I’m In is a novel written by Sharon G. Flake that follows the journey of Maleeka, a sixth soon to be seventh grader who has been teased relentlessly about her dark skin. When I read this I was going through that phase of scrubbing my face because I thought it was too dark (remember my fun facts about me), so this hit home for me. Maleeka started to get tired of the bullying and name calling so she decided to take on a sassier demeanor and even sassier group of friends going into seventh grade.
The Miss Saunders Effect
During this transition into mean Maleeka she encountered a new teacher with an unusual skin condition. Miss Saunders was also a dark-skinned black woman but she has vitiligo which means that she had white patches of skin. Even though she had a different appearance than everyone else she still walked with her head high, commanded respect, and embraced the skin she’s in. These kind of actions surprised Maleeka, because Miss Saunders was a reflection of her own insecurities and low self-esteem that many young black girls are faced with.
Even though Maleeka doesn’t understand Miss Saunders’ confidence she eventually learns how to use her voice and stand up for herself through Miss Saunders’ counsel. She no longer allows herself to be bullied or taken advantage of and finally realizes that the skin she’s in is sun kissed and gorgeous beyond words (there’s way more that happens before this revelation but you’ll just have to read it and find out).
Embracing the Skin I’m In
I wanted to share this novel with you ladies because it not only inspired the name of this blog, but it helped me learn how beautiful my skin really is at a young age. I had to of been in sixth grade when I found this book and its story and meaning has stuck with me all of these years so I know it has impacted me greatly. I encourage you all to find a copy of this book (it’s linked in the post so I helped ya) and read it, share it with your friends, and let it be a stepping stone to opening up a world of knowledge of black women and our beauty and strength.
Let me know on twitter @skinlovepeace if you guys read it and what you did and didn’t like about it. We may just get a little virtual book club started you never know!
Bye for now!
“To look in the mirror and like what you see, even when it doesn’t look like your idea of beauty.” -Sharon G. Flake