It was a very hot day today. like most of us, I was working from home, on a call, when my daughter walked in the house looking red, tanned, and sweaty! I got totally distracted and whilst on mute, my first immediate reaction was – “What’s happened to you? You’ve gone all dark, did you put the sun cream today! Go wash your face with a face wash.”
My daughter threw her bag to the floor, rolled her eyes, made a funny sound, and went stomping up the stairs.
Eventually, I got my attention back on the call and got through the rest of the day without giving it another thought.
Later that evening when I had the chance to sit down quietly, I wondered why I reacted so strongly to something so insignificant?
Born and raised in India, I grew up believing that fair skin means beautiful. I was always on the darker side as compared to my sister and always felt ugly due to it. At some point, the colour of skin ruled my life and defined me as a person.
At the age of 26, I got married and came to England. Surprisingly, I felt more at ease within my skin in England (amongst the all-white community) than I did back home in India. I eventually came to love the colour of my skin and started to see the beauty in me.
However, when I saw my daughter’s skin 2 or 3 shades darker than her usual, all my childhood memories and fears came flooding back. My childhood conditioning was so deep-rooted that it popped up involuntarily.
It got me thinking…where else in my life am I operating from my childhood beliefs and conditioning and how long will it take to understand and examine each of those beliefs and its impact?
We had a nice family time later that evening. I did not say another word about this to my daughter. In a couple of days, when I got the chance and I genuinely meant it, I let her know how beautiful she is and I do that constantly.
I know my child does not need me to remind of her flaws, there is an entire world out there to do so. As a parent I need to remind her of her everything good and also help her feel comfortable in her own skin.