" Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you." That is one of the biggest lies we have been told as children to help us deal with name calling and bullying, but the reality is that words do hurt and they can effect you for the rest of your life. I learned this truth early on in life and didn't realize until recently how much being teased during my childhood shaped how I viewed my dark skin. I've been called midnight, blacky, and shadow, just to name a few. Kids would turn the lights off with laughter asking where I went. With my limited english I would laugh along with them and internalize everything, but looking back now I know it was those experiences in my youth that effected how I embodied my skin. For many years I resented being dark. I would only come outside in the summer when the sun set, I would shower with hot water and scrub wishing my skin tone would lighten but it never worked. I felt so insecure about my skin for the majority of my life until later in my early adult years. I realized how beautiful my tone was, how it lusters in the sun, how bright colors compliment me so well & how much my complexion has helped build my character. If I could go back and talk to my old self, I would tell the younger me all the things that I know now. I would counsel myself on the importance of self love, educate myself on the true history of black people. Sticks and stones....its funny how you heal quicker from that then the words.