By Takiya Smith
He say, she say, we all feel as if we should have a say … right? Or at least somewhere in the deep recesses of our intricate minds, we gather some sense that we have a claim or stake in verbalizing our opinions, thoughts, and ideals on matters from “what not to wear” to who we feel needs to be the “biggest loser.” Yet, who are we to decide, judge a matter or, far worse, each other?
For so long, the issue of gossip, labels, stereotypes and the backlash of negative media images has plagued our society, particularly our young girls. Though the response and support has taken and made tremendous strides, all too common is the advice given directly to the initiator and instigators to pipe down and back off. Well, ladies, gals, Southern belles, divas and bombshells, my approach goes a little something like this: Obviously the nay-sayers, haters and discriminators will always be there, so why not grab the bull by the horns and stare it menacingly back, dead in its eyes? Embrace who you are with all the ease, confidence and splendor that you have been chosen to be.
Growing up, I was all too familiar with my less-than-acceptable looks, such as being categorized as ugly, because I wasn’t light and fair skinned like my baby sister, but rather darker toned and subjected to taunts and ridicules of words like “darkie” by my own race. As life went on, I found that this deeply rooted slur had spun me into a deeper, mixed web of low self-esteem with issues that this article could not possibly contain. Yet, in my growth and with some words of wisdom that I will share with you, I was able to accept my personal beauty mark.
Often times, the ones dishing the dirt are just swiftly scooping it off themselves to not appear dirty. Now, how we choose to react is key. Claws out and teeth showing, we can retaliate, or, like the ladies that we are, we can assist them in getting the dirt off and helping to clean them up. The latter, coupled with a constant reminder that if people are talking, then I am simply something to talk about, has helped keep me mindful of the beauty of the beast.