i used to be really insecure about my skin color. i would wear sunscreen all the time even during winter not for the sake of keeping my skin safe but to avoid getting dark. i was even insecure of my own insecurity. whenever discussing my skin with others, instead of speaking of my feelings in a matter-of-fact way, i would sound ashamed and upset. ashamed for not loving myself. upset for feeling ugly in my own skin. whenever standing next to someone lighter than me i would cross my arms and shrink into myself uncomfortably. i would fixate on my dark arm hairs and wish i had shaved before going out. i would wish to go out into the sunlight to appear lighter but at the same withdraw into any source of shade for fear of getting darker. however, my skin color and body hair did not only bother me in public but even during my time alone, when staring at my reflection in the mirror. i saw a barrier in between me and those lighter than me. i desired to appear attractive to anyone who i deemed physically superior. now all of this sounds like its in the past but i still struggle with my body and self-image everyday. its just changed in that i now see more of the beauty of my skin no matter whether im outside or indoors. im more comfortable with having body hair and dont beat myself up for it. so cheers to every bit of progress and absence of self-loathing, and to every uplifting thought ive had for myself. i don't want to be ashamed anymore. i also want to say that its okay to not be 100% confident with yourself. you cant force yourself to feel comfortable with yourself, it takes time and the changes come naturally. your struggle is your struggle and you have the right to feel what you feel. own it. dont listen to others who try to invalidate it. be proud of every ounce of who you are from your background to your identity because no can do what you do and deal with what you deal with everyday if not you.