Dear 18-year-old Tobi,
I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but you will get to a point where you look in the mirror and like what you see, or at the very least be comfortable with what you see, and not want to jump into someone else’s skin.
No, I’m not gassing you. Just because you don’t look like the girls in R&B and Hip Hop music videos that get whisked off their feet, or just because you don’t look like Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long or Halle Berry, doesn’t mean that you won’t find someone who loves your darker skin, or the way your nose spreads when you laugh hard or your full lips that you scrunch up when you are over something or someone.
These women are beautiful, absolutely head-turners, but there will come a day, where you find a little bit more confidence in your looks, because there is this revolution coming, via our phones, where we are able to find celebratory images and feel a sense of empowerment from online community in corners of the internet.
I know at 18, most teenagers are struggling with how they look, but this sense of insecurity that you feel because of your complexion is a false narrative. In your own way you will play a very microscopic role in trying to dismantle it and, in turn, help black women who do and don’t look like you feel a sense of confidence in their blackness.
Beyond patiently waiting to feel this confidence in your complexion, one thing you can do to be your best self is to let go of him and this relationship. He doesn’t love you, and deep down you don’t love him. You love the idea of him, the idea of being committed to someone; you are trying to fill a gap that can’t be filled, and certainly not by him.
He is not the love you deserve and don’t hang on because you think no one else will love you because of how you look. You will find someone who will love you in a way that brings you clarity, euphoria and warmth, not this ‘love’ that brings nothing but confusion, mundaneness and coldness.
I promise you that in due course, not only will you adore your skin, but you will have a love that is once in a lifetime, filled with hope, ecstasy and just the right amount of friction to keep things interesting...