I have never thought of myself as beautiful. Growing up in Charleston, SC there was racism among African Americans. You had the dark-skinned black girls and the lightskin black girls. Growing up the lightskin girls got all the attention. They were in every beauty contest, people hung around them the most, teachers seem to give them more leeway when it came to grades, boys were always after them. At a young age I thought well I am darkskin so I know I have to work twice as hard to even be noticed. My mom use to even tell me to stay out of the sun because she didn’t want me to get blacker no one wanted someone so black. I remember when I first got called ugly it was from an older boy I was about 7 he might have been 10 and I was on the playground and he came over and said…”You are so ugly your gap teeth is the best thing on you” After that I was called ugly more times than I can count. I was called skinny, gap teeth, black as the ace of spade, smash face, big head, etc. By the time I got to high school I started dressing how I felt…..ugly. I didn’t bother to dress up or look good no one would notice anyway so I just wore sweats, tshirts, and old clothes when I wasn’t in my uniform. On weekends my friends would dress up to go to the mall and I wore sweats with holes in them and a tshirt that was 10 times to big (to hide my tatas I didn’t like those either lol). My friends would say Kita why don’t you look better and I just shrugged my shoulder. Eventually that same mindset followed me through my entire high school and my college years.

When I got to college…I went to a HBCU (Clark Atlanta University) and that was the first time in my life that it felt like a walking fashion show everyday. I had upgraded my sweats for jeans and a tshirt but still wore the sweats a time or two. While everyone was dressed to the max I was still looking….ugly. When it was time to go out to the clubs I had to borrow clothes from friends because if I didn’t change out of my ratty clothes I couldn’t go and I didn’t want to miss out on the experience so I would just wear something they had for that one night and then return to my usual getup afterwards. I had to dress for the occasional class presentations and I hated it because I was so use to looking horrible that I didn’t know what matched and didn’t match. I know I had to dress so I just threw on anything that wasn’t jeans and a tshirt.

Let me give you a backstory though….my mom and dad….dressed! They wore the latest brands, looked good outside of work, and stayed with their hair done. My mom wore makeup and heels and would try to get me to convert and I would just say no I am fine…..so when people saw me they wondered where I came from. Most teenagers argue about boys and other stuff with their mothers…I argued about dressing up. When we went to church I was forced to wear dresses and my mom would say…this is the only day that I bother you can you please look like you are my child for one day of the week. I compromised only if I can throw it off as soon as I came home…she had two hours or I would start stripping on the church grounds lol. I was a tomboy to the fullest and the idea of getting dressed up seemed taxing to me…it also seemed like a waste of time because no one would notice me anyway so why do it. I hate when time is wasted doing stuff when no one notices it. I can be doing other things…..I had boyfriends but it was the athletic ones the ones who played basketball who didn’t care if I dressed because they stayed looking like bball people all the time so I fit right in. Boys back then didn’t care if you dressed as long as you took it off and gave them some so I was good on that end I didn’t have to dress up to get a boy. During my sophomore year of college I met a guy online (my husband) and we agreed to meet up after talking online. He use to ask me to send him a picture and I would always send him a picture of animals….a monkey, an elephant, etc. I never sent him a picture of me. My words to him was…I’m ugly and all you will want is one thing so you don’t need to see a picture. We finally met and that particular day I had to dress up for a presentation so I had no choice but to meet him dressed. He knew that I lived in sweats and tshirts so of all days I didn’t have my usual on. I met him and the first thing he said was….You are not ugly why did you lie. Huh…..those words were never spoken to me before. I brushed it off and we started seeing each other until we got married. Y’all know I wanted to go to the courthouse but he said nope…I have seen your closet you can dress if you wanted to (I had a few things in there that looked good on the mannequin but they still had the tag on them lol)  so you are going to wear  a wedding dress with some heels and get your makeup done….I started panicking. I had never wore makeup before…heels yes because my mom made me for church, a dress yes…again on Sundays, but makeup….he was reaching. I loved him so I obliged and got my makeup done for the first time….I felt even uglier. I know……..how can makeup make you feel ugly…well it didn’t feel like me…I felt odd for some reason. I had finally become comfortable in my sweats and jeans that I didn’t care anymore about dressing up to please anyone. I think that was a turning moment for me…you see I use to care about what others think but I was so use to being Kita and being free from what society thought beauty meant that I felt uglier in the makeup. My mom I think finally got it and after the wedding she helped me take the makeup off…She said you know what Kita…I am proud of who you are wear what makes you comfortable and don’t let anyone tell you to dress up if you don’t want to not even me. You have taught me that beauty is within you and I want you to stay that way. At the time I didn’t know what she meant by that so I ignored those words…until later.

I worked in corporate America for a few years so while I hated it…I had to dress. I could no longer where the sweats and tshirts because I needed to work. I dressed up but it was such a time consuming task that I dreaded it. Like why can’t I just wake up and throw on some sweats or jeans, and a tshirt but I did what I had to do. I wore heels but took them off as soon as work was over. I still didn’t wear makeup…that wasn’t going to happen at all lol. I use to see the prettiest girls at work and they had all the fine men after them but then the men wouldn’t stay they would move on. (I was married but I started noticing this) I started seeing some celebrities who where beautiful and they couldn’t keep a man, some of my friends who were gorgeous …couldn’t keep a man. I was like but their beautiful…why? They stayed with makeup on, stayed with the latest outfits on, dressed like dressing was going out of style but they were the ones that the men left. I remember one of my husbands friends who was married to a beautiful girl started cheating on her with someone who was plain like me…I asked my husband why would he do that my husband said….because while beauty attracts us…whats on the inside keeps us. That was the first time in my life that I felt beautiful because while beautiful women were wishing for men or having men one day and being single the next…I kept my man so he saw the beauty within me. I don’t know why but after that conversation I started to feel…..beautiful. No longer did I feel ugly, no longer did I feel like I was this Darkskin girl, no longer did I feel different, I felt whole. I don’t know if that resonates with anyone but it did with me.

These days I still wear my sweats (I have some in every color lol) and I still don’t wear heels but I have a different view of what beauty means and I am comfortable with that. People still tell me to dress better and I let them say whatever they want it goes in one ear and comes out the other because I know what makes me beautiful. I know what I have on the inside and that shines to the outside. I am comfortable with who I am and how I dress and if I want to dress up I do and if I don’t feel like it….well I don’t. I dress how I want without making any compromises like how I did back on Sundays going to church. People always say well Kita people will judge you on how you dress….let them. If you are basing who I am by how I dress I don’t want you around me, and I don’t even want to do business with you.  My beauty comes from within and that is why I am so glad Dove recognizes beauty on a different level. What makes me beautiful is the way I treat people, the way I lift them up, the way I help them, the way I say things, the way I look at situations fairly, the way I love them by putting actions behind everything I do. Words hurt …trust me they do but nothing is more beautiful than being who you are and letting others know of your true beauty within you. You can judge me all you want but the people who really really know me know that Kita will do and say whatever she wants these days. No my business doesn’t lack because of how I dress…..as a matter of fact business is good and I don’t have to dress up to prove anything to anyone.

I hope that by sharing my story about beauty it makes you realize that whats on the inside is what’s true. The outside fades but your inside will never ever fade. Thats the true beauty of who you are!

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