Growing up as the darkest granddaughter was very annoying. My family’s comments still continue. I grew up hating my complexion. I remember covering my face with baby powder as a kid, so I could be ‘white’, and then playing with my mom’s makeup. It wasn’t until my early 20s when 1 of my non-South Asian friends said “you have the perfect color” to me, that I realized that being “dark” could be pretty. Then I dated someone who would remind me very often of how beautiful my brown was. Over the years I have come to love my brown skin, and I am thankful for it. My complexion is a combination of natural selection and genetics, what could be more special?
I was born/raised in NYC, and I went to India (South) for the first time this year. I blended in there in a way I never expected. I felt proud of my ancestry, and even more proud of my skin. This summer was the first summer I did not hide out from the sun.
I am a dance teacher to many little South Asian girls, and I encourage them to love themselves for who they are. I embrace each of their unique beauties, and all I hope for is that they will too.
Thank you for making a place for us to share our stories.
-Sonya Devi, NYC