I have much to say on the topic of self-realization and how I take note of the ‘beautiful people’ in the world. Such topics could take a lifetime to type out. So I’ll try my best to summarize.

For the first 8 years of my life my self-image was wonderful. I lived in a neighborhood where almost everyone looked like me. Throw in some cute ponytails and frilly dresses and I was adorable.

Then we moved to Pasadena, California. Culture shock on steroids! I had never seen black people, Asians, Armenians, Jews, Russians and everyone else. They scared me. Especially the black kids. Keep in mind I wasn’t even ten when this happened.

In retrospect, the black kids probably scared me because their skin was the most pronounced. Once a black girl had lunch and a very honest conversation with me I was no longer scared.

Then she asked a question I was not ready for. What are you? What do you mean? I’m a girl. Then she said, are you white or something else? It took a few days to answer the question.

As time went on, I coveted the white girls’ beauty, wealth and good luck. Yes, I wanted to be white. White was ‘all right’. Mexican-American was wetback, beaner, fruit picker and brownie.

White people were perfect even when they were cruel. Then came the biracial kids: black and white, black and Asian and yes, black and Latino. They were all super gorgeous in my book.

Then one day I woke up. I had a teacher with blond hair and blue eyes. She was sweet and I loved her. During an open school meeting she introduced me to her husband.

He was well over 6 ft. tall and black as night. He shook my hand and said, how do you do young lady. I couldn’t stop staring. I went to my teacher and said I had no idea she was married to a black man.

She laughed and said that she was black. I said she didn’t look black. She then pointed out how I could tell. I was amazed. I apologized for my ignorance and she said that it was best for me to ask.

Mrs. L helped me so much in how I view the world. Today I can tell who the beautiful people are. They are the full-figured mothers who nurse their babies. They are the dark-skinned grandmas who hug every child. They are the smudged face, pot belly kids playing in the park.

True beauty falls upon all of us when we have silliness, tenderness, love and acceptance. There are so many skin tones and facial structures for a reason. God loves variety and we should too. All of my friends and family are perfectly beautiful. My two beautiful black girlfriends were in my bridal party. There is no celebrity that can hold a candle to them.