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When I was five, you told me my milk chocolate skin was ugly, and trying to destroy it, I poured flour all over myself in the kitchen. I am still sweeping it from the tiles. 

When I was seven, you said my hair was dirty and told me to flat iron it until the curls never came back. I believed you, and I am still trying to undo the damage.

When I was ten you said my lips were so big you’ve seen mountain climbers never reach the top, cupid’s bow stagnant, so I pressed them together and never spoke.

When I gave birth to my first daughter, I promised myself she would be cherished. I tell my daughter everyday that she is beautiful, trying to make her love herself even though she is a minority. I tell her her skin is of cocoa that everyone wants to sip. I tell her her hair is a natural flourish of her culture. I tell her her lips are ones for her empowered to slip out of.

And I tell myself I am beautiful in efforts to forget your racism.

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