This is Yosra
I grew up in Saskatchewan, in a small city where most of the girls my age looked the
same. I constantly stood out from ages 9-17 no matter how hard I tried to be like the other girls. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t accept me, and why I could never look like them. Skin colour was never a factor until a girl brought it up to me in grade five. For so long, I thought I was doing something wrong and that my not fitting in was under my control. It took me so long to be accepting of my naturally dark skin that I have as a result of an Arabic mother and Persian father. I wanted blonde hair and fair skin, hoping that other girls would see me as one of them. I avoided the sun as much as I could, constantly wearing long sleeve shirts and pants (even during the summer) to avoid getting darker, contrasting even more with the porcelain skin tones.
Despite all my best efforts, the other girls still told me I was “an ugly shade of brown”. When I insisted I was just tan they laughed and asked why my tan wouldn’t go away. Words hurt, especially coming from your peers when you just want to fit in and make friends. As a young girl, the approval of other girls was what mattered to me the most, and I thought changing myself was the way to do that. I was so wrong. Down the line, I realized that most of the girls that teased me had far bigger insecurities, and many had longed to have caramel-coloured skin, and would spend hours trying to achieve what I was blessed with.
As I grew older I began to realize that beauty comes in all shades, and the skin you were born in does not define who you are or who you can become. I started enjoying my youth and finally being able to run outside, embracing the sun. I love my skin because it represents me and my unique ethnicity. What made me stand out when I was younger I now am so proud of. I feel connected to my parents as I am a mix of their beautiful colours as well. Getting darker from the sun is a natural process and just a reminder that I’ve been enjoying life, going outside, and seeing the world.
I believe that everyone is truly beautiful and that the best beauty comes from inside. Our uniqueness makes us special. It sounds cliché, but trust me, people notice when you are beaming with confidence and embracing who you are. Let your inside beauty reflect who you are on the outside, and love the skin you’re in.