Why Hateful Comments About Serena Williams’ Looks Feel So Personal
“No one will ever love you,” said my dad as I sat at the end of a very long dinner table at the age of 17.
My dad was going on and on about my weight. I wasn’t overweight at all, but just in case I ever got too comfortable and decided to let myself go, my father wanted to remind me that no man would ever love me if I did.
According to my (very dark skinned) father, I had a lot going against me. According to my dad, I had the potential of being fat, I was a tomboy who would easily punch out boys who pissed me off and I was a girl who preferred to climb trees and rocks over wearing a dress. And WORST of all (according to him), I was (am) dark-skinned - the darkest of all his children, the n*gger in the family, as he called me.
So boyish. So crass and vocal.So aggressive. So black. So, so ugly. Being fat would’ve already added to all these defaults. Finding someone to love me would be close to impossible.
I remember once going into the bathroom and literally scrapping the skin off of my elbows till I bled because I thought I could wash off the blackness. I remember the hours I would spend blowing out my hair to remove all traces of the curls I had. I remember being teased in school because of the roundness of my hips and the voluptuous curves of my African –influenced body. I remember, for the longest time, wishing I looked different - hating the thickness of my thighs and curves of my waist. I hated every single thing about the way I looked – until I learned to not care. Being a tomboy made that even easier in one way, though harder in so many others.
This went on for years and years and it has take almost as long to learn to love and appreciate my looks and features, my curly hair and thick thighs, my strong personality, and my fondness for sneakers and pants, but the memory of the hurt from those words will stay with me forever.