Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I hear them chattering, M and her friend. Her friend is talking about M and telling her how pretty she is. I always wanted white skin like yours she says. M, in a moment that I'll remember forever says but I like your skin, it's so pretty and brown. I wish I had browner skin like you. It's not the first time this has come up with M, being here she's generally one of the lightest skinned kids around and she's asked me more than once when will her skin be darker. And in this moment I was so grateful for that, she made her friend feel good instead of bad, a spontaneous peacekeeping mission but one that also splinters my heart because it reminds me of what is just around the curve.
So in that moment both girls seemed happy, it's the easy open chatter of 4 and year olds but it's not lost on me that just around the corner comes the more difficult stuff, the times when these games of compare and contrast will linger, that wounds will be caused, that defining others by what is different will be hard to resist and will matter so much.
We as mothers no matter where we raise our kids or what our faith we is face these issues, these issues of raising our little girls into young women in a world full of differences while trying desperately to show them how to celebrate them instead of losing a piece of themselves in the exchange. And we face our own demons in the balance, our own multiple dissatisfactions whether quiet or loud do not go unnoticed, our girls see us worry about our weight and our hair how we look and a multitude of other things that more often than not were simply how we came out but never able to accept.
And I feel this is the beginning of our journey, of my chance to do whatever I can to normalize M's experiences of this in her world and to be there with her when she struggles but I am also unsure, afraid that my own earlier woundings will get in our way as they have for generations before. And it also strikes me that no matter where you go in the world we women share this and that both saddens me and binds us, me to you and us to them and we together have to work to strengthen our collective lineage and do what we can to make sure our girls know their radiance, their unique badassedness, every single day of the rest of their lives.