2.27.2017

poetry: the brown skinned girls

i look at my skin and see

a delicate masterpiece of the element earth

the spark of sunshine underneath it
and history 

yes history written all over it

how generations of exceptionally beautiful

talented and patient people

worked and worked and worked

to snatch independence from foreign hands

and place it on our palms

the palms of brown skinned girls who are

scattered over some even more scattered continents

my dear brown skinned girls 

who are told to hide the beauty
 of earth, water, fire and air mixed

under a bleached tone that doesn't belong to us

the brown skinned girls of past

bought us the freedom we flaunt now

and we are not selling it
I knew history even before a book was placed in front of me. History was an unspoken word that nobody in my house talked about but their actions did, their will of following traditions did, their way of living did. History lingered in the air we breathed in; it was a part of us that nothing in the world could ever take away.

My ancestors migrated to Pakistan when the subcontinent was divided into two parts back in 1947. They left their wealth, properties and most importantly, their definite identity, there for a new land that was going to be their new home (if you don't know the history of subcontinent and its partition, I'd highly advise you research/google it for a crystal clear view)
But what they must not have seen coming, was the upcoming lack of self-identification and acceptance in the new generation. Colonialism left yet the wounds its claws had caused, remained open and vulnerable. One of them, more or less, was and still is the issue of skin color.

I have talked about it before but today, it's kind of different. South Asia, where the majority of the population has dark skin color, prides in having a lighter skin tone. The irony remains the same; how could we take pride in something that doesn't even belong to us?

I think about all those brave warriors fighting the war of independence, to save their future generations from the slavery they had seen, to save them from a lifestyle that only weakened them, and they did that successfully. However, they couldn't fix the future, they left it for us.
Most South Asian families want their daughters to be fair. If not parents, then the rest of the society does. When they're not born with it, they're willing to use skin bleaching products to fade away one definite sign of identity, one definite sign of the land where they belong.

What the colonized minds find hard to grasp is something we, the third generation, want to remove. I don't want any other south asian girl to feel uncomfortable in the skin that her ancestors flaunted. I don't want any other south asian girl to feel the need to lighten the color of earth on her skin to feel belonged. I don't want any other south asian girl to not feel overwhelming proud about her identity.
We're who we are and for this statement, a whole generation sacrificed everything they had. We're not letting them down this time. The history they left for us to write, preserve and cherish, I don't want my own chapter for the next generation to be questionable.

And this
this whole thing
the words, the sentiments, the worries
i'm wrapping them somewhere in that poetry above 
for all of my brown skinned girls
we're in this together
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