I did not know I was beautiful when the photographer taking pre-school pictures said, “Aww. Your hair is so long. What a beautiful little Hawaiian girl. Say “Aloha”.
I did not know I was beautiful when I went to the beach and all of the other kids had to wear sunscreen to keep from getting too dark.
I did not know I was beautiful when it was fitness week in my fifth grade class and we all had to weigh ourselves and I weighed over 100lbs.
I did not know I was beautiful when my mother caught me looking nervously at my pre-teen reflection in the mirror and asked me, with fear in her voice, if I wished that I was White.
I did not know I was beautiful when I was the only one of my friends who did not have a date to homecoming.
I did not know I was beautiful when my highschool boyfriend told me that he could not get too serious because I was not Christian.
I did not know I was beautiful when my Asian college boyfriend dumped me and started dating my White roommate.
I did not know I was beautiful, but I was.
So I started wearing my nose ring and the sparkle offset my eyes.
So I got a tatoo over my heart reminding me of what lies inside.
So I learned to care for my body with kindness, and attention, and movement.
So I surrounded myself with people whose beauty radiated from within.
Then my boyfriend said, “I choose you, and choose you, and choose you.
Then I heard friends say “Your daughter is so beautiful. She looks just like you.”
I did not know I was beautiful, so I made myself feel beautiful, and then people told me I was beautiful, and now I know that I am beautiful… sometimes.