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Loving the Skin I'm In (by Kathryn S. Carrington)

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  • multiracialbookclub
    Loving the Skin I m In -- by Kathryn S. Carrington An article sent to Essence Magazine I was torn,
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 16, 2007
      Loving the Skin I'm In

      -- by Kathryn S. Carrington

      An article sent to Essence Magazine

      I was torn, confused and twisted when I received the
      reactions from my 'black' co-workers and many friends
      when I shared with them the cover of my new
      romance novel, entitled, "To Catch a Kitten".
      I cringed at the remarks tossed at me like a ball
      of fire, ready to burn the skin from my hands,
      as if I were holding a hand full of hot grits!

      According to my "sisters", the photo chosen by my
      publishing company wasn't quote:  "Black enough".

      Suddenly I felt a sick sense of isolation,
      disbelief and embarrassment --  thinking that
      -- maybe I wasn't "Black enough" myself  --
      upon realizing that
      the photo resembled,
      none other than traces of my self

      I had described and then envisioned my main
      character- Kitten-looking actually like the
      young model on the cover and -- yet --  because
      of my co-workers and friends and 'their' dislike
      for the cover, I was feeling confused and ashamed.

      To add salt to my injury, I immediately emailed my
      editor and asked her if I could change the cover.
      I want the woman to appear more "
      and less 'Caucasian' looking, is what I told her.
      She emailed me back and said that the girl on the
      cover was indeed, an "
      African-American", much
      like the character I had described in my book.
      Upon feeling dazed and, not to mention, rather stunned
      - I thanked her and sat at my desk, looking rather wan.
      "What the he** was I doing?" I thought, "I love this cover!"

      It was time for me to check myself.

      Suddenly I realized that most of my life I had
      been feeling a bit isolated and ashamed.

      I went to school with 'blacks'
      through out my entire education
      -- and was often taunted and teased
      because I was extremely light-skinned.

      I had been trying to make up for the fact that I too,
      felt that I was not "Black enough" -that is- on the
      outside, for indeed I was very "black" on the inside.

      I loved the taste of soul food: collard greens,
      macaroni and cheese .. went to 'black' shows,
      danced at 'black' parties and read plenty of
      great 'black' books .. and love my two Black
      dark-skinned grand-daughters more than life itself ... 

      Then what was my problem?

      Like many of my darker-skinned "sisters", I was uncomfortable
      in my skin, always thinking that I was just not good enough.

      I had heard so many 'stories' of light-skinned "sisters" -- thinking that
      they were prettier or better than their darker–skinned "sisters" ... that
      left me feeling even more ashamed as well as embarrassed for them.

      I was afraid to show any signs of liking myself and constantly
      feeling guilty if I dared thought that I was just a little bit pretty;

      -- not to mention the fact that, I had been raised by a light-skinned
      mother who constantly told me that my darker-skin sisters,
      would never care for me, no matter how kind I was
      towards them or how much I wanted to befriend them.
      Thankfully, I never believed that notion and it was good that I didn't
      because I have many wonderful friends of all nationalities, today. 

      Today I am still striving to be the confident,
      "black" woman that I know myself to be.

      I would be lying if I told you that I wasn't struggling with
      the fact that I have to continue loving the skin that I'm in
      - but - like many people who come from all
      walks of life to live in our great nation,

      I have to learn to love what my Higher
      Power has given me -- and -- that is an
      appearance to be proud of, no matter what.

      I am extremely blessed to be a part of that
      semi-circle that is formed by the rainbow that
      projects the many shades of our heritage.

      I am also extremely delighted and happy with the cover
      of my new fiction entitled "To Catch a Kitten"; but I can't
      help but to wonder about the young woman on its cover.

      I am often times wondering how the young,
      African-American"  woman, who looks very
      Caucasian, on the cover of my new fiction, feels.

      Surely: she has to be going through something. 

      -- Kathryn S. Carrington
      (Kathryn S. Carrington is a published author and
      freelance writer who resides in Laurel , Maryland .)

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