Beautiful As You Are

Happy new year, dear readers! I’ll refrain from the age-old cynic observation that we all have heard amidst cheers and fireworks that goes like, “Uh, yeah, whatever? 2010 sucked so 2011 is gonna suck too.” Shut your mouth, skeptical party poopers.

This year every month will be dedicated to several causes I passionately believe in as a teacher, blogger, student and feminist. I’ll also be taking in doodle submissions from readers on discerning topics. January is Body Positive Month on my blog and this means it’s all about you (I swear to God it’s not my fault if you can hear Ufone’s jingle when I said that) and your appearance. Many of you already know what BP implies but for those who haven’t heard of the term yet: Body Positivity is, in basic essence, accepting and appreciating yourself as you are. Regardless of your weight, skin tone, hair texture, features and even toe nails, Body Positivity advocates self-esteem and confidence by embracing yourself without cosmetically altering yourself. Why? Because you’re beautiful.

Without further ado, here is a poem I wrote for an adorable little girl, Zahra, in South Africa. Skin tones are often targeted with unnecessary criticism and, in many scenarios, bullying. I’ve been a victim of the anti-brown brigade which, ironically, is brown itself. I grew past it and here I am today. Here’s the poem with a few doodles dedicated to the beautiful, little Zahra.

Beautiful As You Are:

When I was four feet and five inches,
Kids at school would say,
“Hey Mehreen, buy yourself a paper bag!
Your face ruins our day!”

I asked them why they thought so,
My mom said I was pretty swell?
“That’s cause your hair is bushy!
Plus your skin’s dark as hell!”

So I wore the paper bag to school,
I wore it day and night.
I thought I’d be accepted
If I was out of sight.

Then I grew up and left home,
For college and other big plans,
I made friends around the world,
I even made some fans!

I learned that people are beautiful
If they love, respect and care.
What matters most is inside.
Not my skin or hair.

So if a girl is tall and pink,
But she’s rotten and she’s rude,
She’s not pretty in any way.
I’d rather have her boo’ed.

And if a girl is small and dark
And her heart is made of gold,
Trust me, she’ll be plain beautiful
Even when she’s old.

Now here’s a little secret.
Brown is a beautiful shade.
Of warmth, strength and sweetness
This strong color is made.

But that doesn’t matter,
Oh it doesn’t matter at all.
If someone treats you for your skin tone,
They’re not worth the fall.

You’re beautiful and you’re lovely,
Because you are you.
Aw, man, this rhymes too nicely.
Because it’s really true.

Your skin is just a cover,
Your skin is just some meat,
It doesn’t make you bitter
And it doesn’t make you sweet.

What makes you gorgeous and lovely,
Comes right out of here.
So now you know you’re perfect.
Oh, you’re beautiful, my dear.


73 thoughts on “Beautiful As You Are

  1. That is most beautiful thing I saw since this year began! And it came at a time when for some odd reason, I had stared losing my confidence due to the certain way I’ve began to look! Thanks a lot darling for repairing my thought! Yes, I am beautiful because I can love, feel and respect! Love yoi for writing this :)

  2. Being dark sucks. I know most of you are gonna be like ” you should be proud of whatever you have.. yada yada” but c’mon, when you meet your friends at the university, all pretty looking fair dudettes giving you sympathetic looks for your (percieved) ugliness, you do breakdown at some point and driver yourself to agha’s and get a damned tube of fair and lovely.

  3. Being dark sucks. I know most of you are gonna be like “you should be proud of whatever you have.. yada yada” but c’mon, when you meet your friends at the university, all pretty looking fair dudettes giving you sympathetic looks for your (percieved) ugliness, you do breakdown at some point and drive yourself to agha’s and get a damned tube of fair and lovely.

  4. Dude!!! Amazing piece of work!!! This piece brought back all the painful memories from my School days, but has imparted a very important message nonetheless… Bravo!!!

  5. This was a very long poem and totally uninteresting. I hope you can come up with better work in future. Plus BP is crap; one needs to take care of one’s health and weight etc. To accept your 350 lbs of weight is just wrong.

    1. It’s a shame you’d discourage and misunderstand BP like that. Guess I can’t say much about your IQ now since it’s hit rock bottom in my view. BP isn’t about promoting obesity or anorexia, it’s about maintaining a healthy profile without demeaning the individual. You can still lose or gain weight while believing in BP. Stop visiting the site if you don’t support self-esteem because this month is dedicated to it. Off you go.

  6. aww, i love this. and i can relate to the first doodle too.
    8th grade:
    ‘why doesn’t amna’s skin turn white when you press it, like ours does?’
    ‘hahah that’s cause it’s dirty!’
    …among other things.
    so yeah, this is kinda awesome. thanks. :)

  7. Mehreen, this is so beautiful! Thanks for putting into words and lovely doodles what many of us have gone through. This is definitely a post I’m linking to all my fellow South Asian girls :)

  8. Mehreen its a beautiful blog and super beautiful poem, very insprational. I am a very positive person having positive attitude towards life,world,relations,myself but there are sometimes when i really feel low when people tell me ,”u r dark,u have no personality” even if they don’t say a word but their expressions, their eyes speak loud.even the kids.I normally had ignored all this but now as i have come of age and all the “shadi scene” is on.People just reject me coz im not beautiful, Iam not slim, my complexion is not fair,I am not very stylish. Even ppl completely ignore me when discussing some proposal.It hurts alot . and its a reality.

  9. very heart touching indeed…this poem is enough to lift anyone’s spirits up! keep up the good work girl..
    n i really like your theme too :)

  10. Aw Kasana :D What a beautiful start for the new year. You’re such a lovely person, radiating positivity and energy through this post. <3

  11. Hey Mehreen, I was voted UGLY in school so I can totally relate to this. It felt like shit and I wasted years of my life feeling ugly. It still occurs to me sometimes when I’m depressed. Even my work is about what is under the skin so…oh you know. I like this. You made a lot of people feel good about themselves. I feel good too. Thanks.

  12. Your poem’s quite like the song Ugly by Sugababes. I could almost hear the words in sync with the melody of the song. Was it an inspiration?

  13. Mehreen, that is a beautiful poem. It should be in all children textbooks. (Maybe you should write children’s book. You can rhyme and doodle.) Your blog is awesome!

  14. Hi Mehreen! This is a lovely poem! Can you please publish this in book form? I would love to purchase it to read it to my children when I have them. This is truly a gem.

  15. Pingback: Flux « Makola
  16. the innocence of childhood is dangerous, indeed.
    this is so awesome! I could write one about fat people like myself. That was quite a childhood issue too, for me!

  17. Hi, Mehreen, you’re Light and Oneness within. The world needs more angels like you. There’s too much ignorance about the truth cos humans are dominated by the Ego. Namaste

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