“Todun!” Bolanle called.
“Yes, what is it na?” I replied.
“What’s your own? Always serious” Bolanle replied rolling her eyes under the camouflage of the contact lens. I ignored her, diverted my attention to the book that intrigued me while she seeked solace in her phone, probably reading hopeless romantic quotes on Instagram . It already was a ritual; disturbing me anytime she gets bored. Her eyes shone as the light from her phone illuminated her face. This dark skinned beauty glowed without the aid of any bronzer. On a mundane Monday; a day too dull for anyone to glow naturally, here she is being magical and all.
“Do you like your name, Todun?” Bolanle questioned. The network must be terrible for her to pay attention to me.
“Hmm, I don’t know, it’s cool, do you?” I asked her. Slowly, losing concentration from the book that had me intrigued.
“Morountodun is not a bad name, it means I’ve found something that is sweet right?” She asked.
“Something like that, I actually asked if you like your own name” I said, finally giving up on the book.
“I don’t really like the name, I don’t like so many things to be honest” She said. Her words were laced with despair, sprinkled with an iota of frustration.
“Bolanle is a beautiful name, what else do you want? What are the ‘so many things’ you don’t like” I asked with a smirk on my face.
“I like being African but not being dark-skinned” She said sighing.
“What’s wrong with being dark-skinned? ” I asked
“Everything! Nobody sees it as beautiful. I was going to apply for an ushering job but I couldn’t because it was bodly stated that it was only available fair-skinned girls, I was eligible for everything else except my skin shade”
“You are beautiful. Dark-skin is beautiful. Fair-skin is beautiful. Bola, don’t live by the society standard” I told her.
“Oh! Really. That’s easy for you to say. Don’t you see how it’s only light skinned girls we get to see in music videos. It’s so easy for you to say. You’re not the one being sidelined. Not the one that lost an ushering job because of a frivolous reason” She said.
“I know I don’t have answers to everything but your dark-skin is beautiful. I know you lost the job but there will be others and you have to love yourself so you can encourage others, create awareness of colourism but first you have to love yourself. I will get you a mirror because I don’t think you know how you glow effortlessly ” I said hoping to bring her out of her melancholic state.
” There are just so many things to deal with as a girl” She said wholly paying attention to her phone.
TO EVERY BOLANLE:
The society creates a frame and automatically expect everyone to fit in perfectly especially, females (we are always at the receiving end). It might not be your colour but something else. Funny how these ‘little things’ makes one feel insecure. At a point in our lives, we struggle to fit into the picture the society paints and sometimes failed. We forget to see our awesomeness. We forget to accept ourselves. You do not need anyone to validate your beauty. You do not need to live by the society standards. Self love is essential. You can only give the love you have. You cannot love your neighbour as yourself if you do not have any love for yourself. It is a process. It is something you build. Accept your yourself and watch that confidence bloom. (Also remember to thread carefully with others because we are the ‘society’)
I hope this helps someone 🙂
Photo credit : blkwomenart.com (@dearashleyrenea)