My Color Doesn’t Make Me Look Professional


I’ve had this conversation with my sisters a few weeks ago. Well, it wasn’t really much of a conversation. It was mostly them scrutinizing me (not like it’s not normal). So my sisters were telling me a bunch of things I should do now that I’m 18 and an adult and almost done with college (hopefully).

They started off with how I should go to a parlor or salon to have my hair cut/trimmed because at home I just let my hair fall and not care about a thing in the world. (Of course, I wash my hair! And comb too!) But whenever I go to school, I always put my hair in a ponytail and use some hair product because the short hairs on my forehead is a distraction in my pursuit of learning. According to my sisters, I will look better if I get my hair trimmed into those stylish hairstyles. I don’t really see the need. My hair is fine, I believe. I just don’t like those “layers” and “rebond” and other whatnot. I just want my hair as it is with me regularly washing and combing it.

Next, they laid their eyes to the hairs on my arms and legs. I might have not mentioned it before but according to my mother, when she gave birth to me I looked like a monkey with all the hairs all over my body. (Unfortunately, there are no pictures to prove it because all along the camera they were supposedly using to record my baby years was broken.) My mother told me I had a lot of hair on my forehead and even on my bottom. As I grew up, some of it shed but I still have this hairy arms and legs. According to my sister, my legs look like a guys’ legs with all the hair. I’ve never really tried shaving them because I was born this way. No, not in a religious ‘born this way’ shit. I just have this fascination for it. The fascination that not everyone was born with hairs all over their body (or a human looking like a monkey). I’ve always joked about how one day, since I’ve never trimmed these hairs, I won’t need to use soap because I’ll be using shampoo. I’ve never taken this joke seriously, but who knows maybe I’ll go wild.

Then, they criticized my skin color. According to my sisters, I have the darkest skin color. I have two sisters who are fair white and the other three are kind of medium brown, and I’m darker than that. My sisters tell me I should use this certain soap so I can become fairer. My father was the only one who supported my color, calling it “tunay na kayumanggi” and the color of his father. My sisters ignored that, of course. According to them, my color doesn’t make me look professional so I have to use that soap they were recommending. I was kind of hurt with what they said. It’s like their saying people who are black don’t even look professional. It’s scandalous! Is there really that kind of discrimination when you work? When my patients come to see me, would they not think I’m dependable because my skin color doesn’t make me look professional? What kind of standard is that?

The thing is I know I look like a bum sometimes when I’m at home. That’s because I’m at home. I feel lax and free. But when I go out to go to school or wherever I’m heading I try to look less of a bum. And no, my color or anyone else’s color is a standard for someone to look like a professional!

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