This post may offend your sensibilities.
But it’s my truth so I will tell it.
I am dark-skinned. Significantly so. For an Asian woman who grew up in an Asian community. And whilst that is completely irrelevant other than say for something trivial like choice of make-up, it is by no means insignificant. I spent a vast chunk of my childhood wondering about myself. I was scrubbed with a pumice stone, bullied to oblivion – sometimes very close to home, called ‘”the ugly one”, vilified for my size and colour. Forced to see my “self” as an issue but also forced to question my sense of self in relation to my place in a world that didn’t understand me, it led to a very challenging childhood in many ways. I reached a painful puberty at the age of nine. That only served to compound my frustration and confusion, at a time when my peers were playing and blissfully unaware of what was ahead of them. In my teenage years I learned that I was blessed with nice features, a nice smile and a nice personality. That’s the conclusion I drew from the myriad of conversations and subliminal messages I picked up on growing up. And good thing too. Imagine I’d been ugly as well as dark-skinned and fat!? Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit but sometimes I succumb.
But, with hindsight, I now know that all of this was instrumental in the making of me. The cycle is broken.
I do believe ignorance is not bliss – ignorance breeds hatred, ego, superiority-complex, judgement, discrimination and most of all misunderstanding.
When we are challenged with questioning the validity of our very being from a very young age that’s a sad state of affairs. Moreso when this happens to an introverted, indigo child, with a slight inclination towards anxiety. But this is all rooted ultimately in the inadequacies of others – nothing to do with me. Everything to do with them, their self-loathing and their ignorance of the complexities of the world we live in and inability to comprehend or digest that when you cut any of us – black, yellow, white or brown – we all bleed red.
When I think about my child-self compared to my now adult-self I see the journey as very much reminiscent of the birth of a star. A star is born (I’m talking physics here) from an immense and forceful interplay of gas and dust, fusing together under immense heat. When that heat is no longer tolerable in it’s existing state it releases pressure outwards and that pressure combined with the stars gravitational pull creates a stability and light like no other.
So, in my own experiences (we each carry the universe within us after all), the dust and debris in my younger life was the ignorance and ill-treatment by others, those experiences had to be digested and manipulated into something tangible (it had nowhere else to go), when that pressure became too much it exuded an anger, rage, heat and sadness so intense (over a period of many years) that coupled with my grounding in the world created the perfect balance for me to stand as I do today, full of light, strength, confidence and self-assurance. And despite all of this, I have managed to keep my sweetness and my softness and my innocence and my sense of forgiveness for the trespassers, so friends say. There lies my very being, my nature, my essence. There you’ll find Janaki. And now I am totally knowing of my worth, perhaps a little too much to handle for some, but loud and proud of everything that isn’t me and quiet and humble about everything that is me.
I can handle myself, I can defend myself and I can love myself. I am beautiful. I am human, I am imperfect. I am fine. There is no greater power.
There are some lessons I’ve learned along the way…
The behaviour of others doesn’t destroy my own peace. And neither should it yours.
Don’t seek forgiveness from others, it may never come. Instead forgive them for their failings and you shall sleep in peace. Always.
We own our own experiences. As a child it isn’t your fault, as an adult it is. If you need to let it go, make that choice.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.