We are almost there, guys; One more day til’ Friday, yaas! SoOo, for a while now I have been sitting on this post. I was a bit hesitant on speaking about this topic, but I decided that after all, this is my truth, so here I go…
Growing up in a multi-racial family, I’ve always felt in between, if that makes sense.
Although both of my parents immigrated from Central America, their parents were also mixed with European & Middle Eastern blood. So you can imagine the visual melting pot going on in my family tree. To spice things up even more, most of my family members have married outside of our race(s), so I knew nothing, but inclusivity in my household.
But in school, finding my “people” or those who I identified most with was much harder. In some cases, “I was too dark” to group with the Latina women, in others, I was not “Latina enough” or I got the common, “what even are you, Persian, Indian, what?”
Oh, and standardized tests were beyond frustrating! E.g.: “Please check one: White (non-Hispanic or Latino), Black, Latino, Asian, other.” By going with the most obvious, “Latino” I was then diluting my own genetic make up. And its funny too, because more often than not, once I explain what I’m mixed with, I’ve experienced people’s attempts of deciding who I was, for me. I’ve gotten, “well basically, you’re just Latina then!” And this makes you realize that there can be a disconnect between how you identify yourself and how you are identified as.
Now, let’s talk about the media. As a young girl of color, I grew up somehow admiring and consuming all the fashion tips and latest trends from models/influencers who I could not relate to.
I did not see my brown skin on the front of magazines. I did not see women with my short stature or curvier body as the face of the latest mainstream campaign. I did not see me represented to the masses.
And I remember during the onset of Instagram & YouTube, I found myself following a bunch of pretty tall, blond hair, blue eyed women. And I still do, but I really had to dig deep to find other influencers of color. In addition to identifying with these individuals, it became extremely helpful to follow, lets say, make up tutorials/product reviews from women with darker complexions vs those with fairer skin.
So this is where I began to think. I loved writing and sharing my own tips/photos with those around me. What if I started to document aka blog my experiences in hopes that others could relate? This was the question I asked myself for almost 6 months before I finally decided to just do it! I also remember asking myself, how would I be different? What would I bring to the table that is not already out there in the blogging world? Now, that answer came pretty quickly. I may not be the tall, blond hair, blue eyed woman I so admired growing up but instead I would be a representation of so many other women.
What I’ve learned so far, is that one of the biggest blessings in blogging is being able to represent yourself and finding confidence in that. It’s been amazing to see the influx of colored women in the social media game! I truly believe inclusiveness allows creators and their audience to build a commonality. Some of my proudest moments since launching my blog, are the times when I’ve received messages from other ladies, saying they feel represented through me in this blogging world. And it is in those moments, when I truly see the value I have brought to this platform. I may not be this macro influencer yet, but thus far I’ve realized, that by literally just embracing who you are, you can actually help others do the exact same thing. During the initial stages of my blog I was unsure of who my target audience would be. And this was because (as I’ve mentioned) I really didn’t know where I’d fit in, and maybe I still don’t, but I think people appreciate my authenticity and what makes me different.
So, in short (lmao, not really), I hope to encourage you (regardless of color, size, gender, sexuality, etc) to embrace your identity and all that comes with it… the trials & triumphs. For so long, I allowed society to tell me where I belonged. And I am so grateful for the trailblazing women who encouraged me to put myself out there because now I have the opportunity to be the representation, I longed for. Embrace your melanin, ladies!
I will leave you off on this quote by David Grohl, “No one is you and that is your power.”