I knew a little girl once. She laughed at the rain and danced for the sun. She sang for the stars and told stories to the moon. She ran circles around the house in her Mama’s oversized polos, tripping over the hem and giggling in laughter as she tumbled over her own toes. My little girl and I used to take walks in the park, pointing out the chattering squirrels, the musical songbirds, picking up acorns to line our trail and decorating the benches with various pebbles. When it rained we pulled on our galoshes and splashed through the puddles, giggling as raindrops fell on our noses and finally stopping to look at the worms as they crawled out to play. My little girl used to point at her own reflection, “Look! Look, it’s me!” And we would lovingly gaze at her beautiful almond shaped eyes, poke her round baby tummy, braid her thick luxurious black locks and stroke her flawless smooth caramel complexion. My little girl knew she was the prettiest thing in the world. She’d strut home, taking the time to glance at herself in more puddles, admiring herself for her own beauty.
I wish my little girl still thought she was pretty. My little girl doesn’t appreciate her caramel skin anymore. Now she asks me why people treat her differently than others. She asks me why none of the other little girls at school look like her and all her dollies don’t look like her either. My little girl doesn’t sing for the stars anymore, her songs sound different from those on the radio. My little girl won’t dance for the sun anymore, she says her dances are too showy for those around her. My little girl doesn’t strut home anymore when it rains; instead she rushes past the puddles, afraid her makeup will run down her face exposing her differences to those around her. But how I wish my little girl would love herself again as much as the rain and the sun, the moon and the stars still do.
Zarina Wong ‘16