A Redbone’s Shadow


Low self-esteem is a trip! From ages 16-22, I went through that ridiculousness. I would mope around, feeling sorry for myself because I’m not “light-skinned with long hair.” What is it about light-skinned women with long hair? Of course there are a lot of beautiful women that have a lighter complexion, but they’re not ALL pretty. I’m not hatin’, I’m just saying, lighter doesn’t equal pretty!

I’ve always thought that it’s about who you are as a person is what’s important. That’s still true, but I do understand that physical attraction is the most common attention grabber that sparks up interest to get to know someone. For some reason, I used to feel like they just had it easier in social settings. I didn’t want guys harassing me for my phone number, but I wanted to be noticed too, while fully dressed.

At my high school, it seemed like the darker girls had to do more for their attention, and I wasn’t going out like that. I’m not a dark-skinned girl, but I’m not light-skinned either. I like to think of myself as a nice, slightly golden brown, with a reddish tint. My shade is beautiful, I just hate that it took 6 years for me to see it.

That psychological plague only became worse when I started dating. I already felt like I didn’t measure up, but now I had other people adding to that thought by giving the attention that should have belonged to me, to the “redbones”, or the half-naked darker ones. If they were looking at girls that were similar, it would have been easier to comprehend, insulting nonetheless, but I would be able to make the connection. However, gawking over girls that I look nothing like is just downright disrespectful. Eventually, I got strong enough to say, “If you want her so bad, then why are you here?” I obviously don’t look like them and I never will, I’m fine with that.

It took a relationship, my longest relationship, and Katt Williams’ The Pimp Chronicles Part 1, to understand that no one else is responsible for the way that I feel about me. As I approach the age of 25, I reflect a lot on my adolescence and early 20s. The goal is to find where I need to take responsibility in previous sadness, pain, and failures, so that I don’t fall victim to “playing the victim.” My exes were responsible for making me feel insecure about our relationships, but I was responsible for my own insecurities about myself. At any moment, I could have left them and not let the staring at other girls slide, but I chose to stay and developed “low self-esteem.”

Lighter woman are simply beautiful, just as are other women with great personalities. I found peace in myself once I woke up and understood that these girls weren’t directly and intentionally causing me negative feelings. I had to start blaming the right people, myself and my exes. I know that I have good looks, brains, personality, and most importantly, my faith in God. I plan to spend the next 6+ years encouraging others to come out of that same restraint and stop creating a shadow that doesn’t exist.


  1. I’m glad that you realized that the only thing wrong with you was the people you elected to LISTEN too…no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

  2. Very nice commentary Auja, well said and I am so proud of you, stay in control and check them when you need too!!!

  3. Sometimes self love can be a destination that takes a life time. Luckily there outlets where young can express themselves and share their stories.

  4. @BlackSista you said “Sometimes self love can be a destination that takes a life time.” This is so true, and I hope we have more women like Auja who share their stories and bring awareness to this issue so it won’t take so many of our young women a lifetime to love (and accept) themselves.

    Great article Auja!

  5. @Brown Bombshell It became such a relief when I realized that…not speaking to someone that I spent most of my days with caused great sadness. But the disgust from the disrespect outweighed the pain which gave me the strength to leave.

  6. @BlackSista, I completely agree. Not only is it good to remove those negative people, but it’s great to express the emotions that were present in the relationship so that others may know that overcoming something so difficult is possible. Not to mention refreshing!

  7. @Shala Marks Thank you!!!! I hope there will be other girls/women who will share their stories too. There’s a sense of a new start when stories are shared. This “shadow” no longer has a bind on my spirit and how I feel about me. I was worried about people finding out that I had low-self esteem, but that was part of my journey and it seems like every bad situation that happens, has good that affects more people than the bad did. I just thank God that He gave me the ability to see it instead of being depressed about it.

  8. WOW, Auja this is truly a remarkable and heart felt message. I know that millions of people will be able to relate to this as well as look forward to the additional life lesson that you have to share. Like I have always told you that you have a gift from God to help people and I look forward to watch you grow spiritually and mentally.
    Looking forward to reading your next article. Much Love girl, your friend/mentor Darnell Cooley.

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