As this is my first post I think its only right for me to start with some self-reflection and explore the motivation behind ‘Honour My Mystique‘.
It all started when I was born in the Netherlands, at a couple of months old my parents gave me up for foster care to a middle class Caucasian family who lived in a predominantly Caucasian area. My foster family was very loving and took me in like I was one of their own. They accepted and loved me for who I was. However, I was not so much welcomed at school.
Ever since I can remember I was told and made to
believe that I wasn’t good enough. I remember being an 8 year old girl struggling with the notion that my skin colour is too dark and therefore undesirable. Being compared to ‘Black Pete’ (which is the Dutch version of Black Face).. I was bigger than the average child and that ‘fat Black kid’ or ‘Black cow’ was mostly my label.. I wasn’t only being treated or looked at differently, but I was simply bullied and sometimes attacked for the fact that I looked different then most children in my school. I felt like I was being tormented at the time. I was told that ‘children are being children and don’t know any better’. But when I got branded ‘the fat nigger’ in secondary school I knew something wasn’t right..
Then the day came when I turned 12 and got told that I had to permanently move back home, to my biological parents. Initially, I felt heartbroken, disposed of and abandoned by my (foster) family. I am not good enough again. Not worthy. Not worthy of being cared for and being protected by the people who I viewed as my family. But having gone through the emotional roller-coasters at such a young age, I started to appreciate the silver lining in situations. So I figured, at least I would be surrounded by ‘my own kind’, around people who would appreciate and accept me for just being me. I could develop a relationship and a bond with my parents, and experience the concept of ‘blood is thicker than water’ and have a genuine connection. But I was sadly mistaken..
My mother introduced me to skin lightening/bleaching products, it is to ‘correct’ your skin and make it look ‘nicer’ she said. ‘Florencia, all you do is eat and sleep’, that’s what I was told on a regular basis, when in fact I was a grade A student and most days after school I trained to become an athlete. You need to eat less otherwise men won’t look at you, you won’t be able to find a husband when you’re older.. Being ridiculed by the community for not being able to speak the native language and being classed as the ‘White girl’ (how ironic) or that I am neglecting my heritage, being told that I act ‘White’.
As you can imagine, I never had much of an identity or a sense of belonging when I was younger. I have and probably always will be an outcast. But over the years, from being a lost and confused child growing into an independent woman I have learned to accept and learn to love my uniqueness. I have learned to accept how my experiences have moulded me into the warrior I have become today.
I am a work in progress, but the fact that its in motion is of paramount importance. I love my mystique and nobody can take that away from me.
Watch this space…