Give Him Love and Attention

I am dark skinned,
And I don't know when I started to hate how I look,
Nor when I convinced myself that I was not pretty.
I’m sure my parents think I am ugly.
Even my brother would say things like,
“I rejected a potential wife, because she looked like you.”

I confided in mama once and told her that I felt ugly,
And that I was worried that my husband would think the same.
She responded by saying,
“Make it up for him by giving him love and attention.”
It was as if she really did think the same.
My relatives also said similar things,
About my features not being pretty,
And my nose being too big.

I got married, and with time, my husband would tell me similar things.
Whenever he saw pictures of me as a kid,
He would call me Shikabala.
He would always make fun of the way my body looked.
He was even disappointed that our kid looked like me,
And would ask me in surprise,
“Does that mean you’re happy that he looks like you?”

Even his parents would imply that I was ugly,
To the extent that I hated myself.
Ever since I was a kid,
I would wish that I was a pretty girl.
I would feel guilty that I wasn't pretty,
Although there was nothing I could do about it.

I was in love with only one person in my life,
Because he accepted me as I am,
And supported me as I am.

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