I have come a long way from my younger days where I used hated the way I looked, wishing I looked more european or lighter skinned…but this hate stemmed from the people most closest to me my family members and my community. I won’t name and shame them but it’s them that had a problem with my skin colour and made it known. It was bad enough to see dark skinned women like me be ill treated and underrepresented in the media and society but to have your community and family hate you for your darker complexion was even more heart breaking. I remember a time where I was told by a family member “your a pretty girl, but you’d be much prettier if you where a few shade lighter” they proceeded to give me skin lightening products in order to get what THEY wanted…not me. I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me I thought because they are older and wiser they know what they are talking about. I thought to myself if I had only been born lighter maybe she and they(community) would stop being so mean to me about the way I looked. But it all changed when I realised there was nothing wrong with me but something wrong with them.
The self love I started when I became more exposed to Sri Lankan, Tamil Rapper M.I.A. to see a girl just like me quite literally. She was a Sri Lankan, Tamil ,dark skinned, out spoken, head strong with a idgaf attitude and stood up to what she believed in, went against societal norms and she wasn’t your typical South Asian girl anddd must I add she had a wicked fashion sense. I knew I had found an icon to look up to one that represented dark skinned south Asian girls like me everywhere. I also found myself hanging around more with Black girls and boys I became more aware of their communities. They seemed to love all the things my community didn’t like about me….first thing they would point out was my dark skin then comment on how beautiful they thought my complexion was….It was so odd and refreshing to here people love what the people most close to me despised. The black communities took me as their own and saw me more of their own more than my community did. So it’s important that I give credit where it is due because had it not been for my black friends/community I don’t think I would have grown to love myself the way I have today. Not to say that these communities don’t have issues with colourism and european beauty ideals haunting them…because they do and I have seen my beautiful black female friend suffer the most from this.
My point is my self love came from seeing women that looked like me on the screen and from a community that wasn’t one I was originally from. But no way on this earth can I say certain family members or the South Asian Community helped me to love myself. If anything they had tried to destroy me.
I sob in the shadows of these monsters, I cry in uncanny silence. The colour of dirt, The colour of filth.
The root of disease and the face of ‘ugly.‘
The melanin burns off of my skin And into the walls of my heart. The little black moles and freckles across my face
form maps and roadways Leading
to the fresh imprints of tears
And the insecurities injected into my blood.
Everything has changed.
Suddenly, I saw from different eyes, The insult and insecurity blurred out by the gospel truth.
Now, my luminescence annihilates those monsters, my laugh reverberates and never dies. The colour of soil, The colour of the earth, The giver of life, the foundation of growth.
The melanin bounces off my skin And glitters like gold. The little black moles and freckles all across my face
form constellations and galaxies Indestructible, immortal, ever growing, eternal, For it thrives and survives on the scrunch in my nose And the diamonds in my eyes when I laugh.
You say I’m cute 'for a brown girl’? I say I’m cute. That’s it. You say I’m pretty 'for a dark girl’? I say I’m pretty. That’s it.
For the girls whose skin is kissed by the sun.
With a head full of kinks and curls that take a life of its own.
We were made in Mother Earth’s image alone.
From the curve of our Cupid’s Bow, to the well in our neck.
Black girls are magic through flesh and bone.
WE. ARE. MAGICK.
Another 3 days and she hadn’t seen him. She loved Junior, his voice was divine, but these days drove her crazy.
She was just getting home from work when he called her making kissing noises into the phone.
“I’m assuming you’re alone?” She held the phone between her shoulder and ear, taking off her shoes off.
"Yes, but even if I wasn’t. What are you doing?“ She heard him rummaging through a cabinet.
"I just got home, I’m tired. Are you coming to see me tonight?” She could use some Junior therapy to lull her into a deep sleep.
"I can’t. I’m just taking a break right now from practice baby. We might be practicing half the night.“ He sighed heavily into the phone.
"I wish I could watch.” She opened the fridge grabbing a water bottle.
"You’d be bored, trust me.“ He burped into the phone, laughing when she called him disgusting.
"Let’s have breakfast tomorrow morning. It’s Saturday, you aren’t working."
"Ok, where?” He told her where, and she wrote down the address on a note pad.
They talked for awhile, saying their I love yous before hanging up the phone. He sent her a picture of him smiling, and then one of him blowing her a kiss. She smiled looking at his face going into the bathroom.
Deciding to send him a few risky pics before her shower. She snapped a few pictures of her in her bra, then peeking behind the shower curtain. Setting the phone down she took a shower, and when she got out the few texts she received were reprimands for making him not being able to concentrate on practicing.
The next morning, she dressed in a button up tank and high waisted shorts. A long sleeve kimono wrap and sandals finished the deal. Looking at herself one more time, she checked her hair and makeup making her way to the address he gave her. The diner was small and intimate, as it was close to brunch it was nearly empty. She walked inside to see Junior sitting at a far booth in the back, waiting.
He looked up and saw her, she knew he was smiling under his mask. Taking her hand, Junior moved the mask to kiss her hand, helping her into a booth.
"Good morning, beautiful.“ She slid into the booth, feeling the heat under the skin.
"Good morning, handsome.” He reached under the table bringing one of her legs into his lap, running the skin he found there.
The two talked a bit, Junior continuously rubbing her leg. They ordered crepes and the food had just come when Junior’s phone began to ring. He rolled his eyes looking at the screen.
"I have to take this, hold on.“ She sighed stirring her coffee waiting for him to finish.
"I just started…now? You sure? Ugh, yea hyung ok. Bye.” Junior hung up the phone, looking at her. “Bad news."
She took a bite of her crepe shaking her head. "Nope, don’t wanna hear it. Eat."
He reached across the table, taking her hand. "I have to go. If we practice now, we won’t have to tomorrow. We have interviews tomorrow and a small fan special."
She rolled her eyes, taking her leg from his grasp. "We haven’t seen each other much. So, I can’t see you tomorrow. What about the next day?"
Junior sighed. "Come with me then."
"To the dance studio? To watch you practice?” This was an exciting prospect.
“Yes. You can watch us practice, and say hello to the guys. You can eat with us and I’ll take you home, and try to stay for a little after. That way we still had today. Is that ok?"
She tried to pretend to be upset, looking disinterested before smiling at him. "Yes."
Junior asked for the food to be packaged up, finishing off his coffee as they both got up and exited the diner. He put a hat on his head pulling it low as they signaled a taxi, heading back to the JYP building. Once inside, he removed his mask, taking her face in one hand he turned her mouth towards his for a kiss, leading the way to the practice room.
The guys greeted her one by one. Yugyeom and Mark waving hello, JB hugging her and BamBam and Jackson trying to get her attention, making her laugh to irritate their hyung. She sat down in a corner, watching the boys start their practice.
She loved watching Junior dance. He was so confident in his steps, moving in time to the music. He looked her way every time he could, making a kiss face or winking at her.
It made her feel special that he even brought her here. That he was shamelessly flirting with her in front of his friends. After about an hour they stopped for a break, Jackson coming up to her.
"Junior is a good dancer, but I think I’m better. I know you were watching me.” He winked at her sitting down next to her draping an arm across her shoulders.
“You are a good dancer. I like watching Yugyeom more though.” That earned a blush from the young man, a scoff from Jackson and a glare her way from Junior.
"Eyes on me only.“ Junior said, walking over to flick Jackson on the head. "Hands off, my woman."
They all laughed. JB shaking his head, as she stood up facing Junior. "Where’s the bathroom?"
"Down the hall, second door on the right.” He made motions with his hands. “Want me to show you?"
"No, rest. I’ll be fine.” She answered, walking out the door.
The JYP building seemed quiet this morning. She pictures it a more hustle and bustle kind of place. With many groups moving in and out of the place, or at least like her building. As she exited the bathroom, a frosted glass door caught her attention. Specifically, the sound of the voice coming from it. Was that Junior? It was, he seemed annoyed talking to the female voice inside. She knew she shouldn’t listen, but the curiosity overwhelmed her. Slowing down her pace she stopped behind the door, listening.
"Why did you bring her here?“
"She’s my girlfriend, I haven’t seen her in 3 days, and she doesn’t like when we don’t spend time together.” She heard Juniors characteristic growl when he was upset.
"I don’t like having an issue on my hands like last time. You were seen with her, and we had to pull damage control.“ She recognized that voice from some of his phone calls. It was his manager.
Junior sighed heavily speaking again. “Please don’t be so dramatic, it wasn’t bad. No one saw her face, and it was over within a week. In reality, I love my fans, but they need to know I’m human. I have a life too."
"You have a life that is Got7 right now. I want her gone. Do something with her. Just…take her out the back door.” The way she said the last part made her hair stand on end.
Take her out the back door? Like she was some sort of embarrassment? Biting her lip, she shook her head wanting to hear Junior tell her no. Instead, she felt her heart sinking.
"Fine. We’ll leave through the back.“ Her heart fell into her stomach, breath hitching in her throat.
Looking down at her hands they felt weak. She had her purse in one hand and phone in the other. Damn him, and damn that bitch. She held back the tears, walking towards the elevator. If it was an issue she could leave, that’s fine. Outside the building, she took a deep breath watching the people go by. It was cheaper to take the train and she would think while she went home. Something had to give.
What she didn’t hear was Junior tell the manager that he was sick of this. He would bring her again, and she would leave when he did, that was the end of the discussion. He went back to the practice room, and noticed she wasn’t back.
"Where is >>>?” Everyone shrugged, Mark telling him she hadn’t been back in the room yet.
Junior went to the female bathroom knocking on the door. When no answer came he waited, knocking again. No one came out. Annoyed he took his phone from his pocket, and attempted to call her. No answer. He called 4 times, texting her as he waited for her to pick up. Annoyed, he held his phone tight, clenching his teeth.
Once she was home she looked down at the missed calls, feeling slightly guilty that she didn’t answer his calls or texts. She sat down on the couch, head in her hands trying to figure out what all this meant. Her place in this world, and in this place-with him. A few hours later a knock on her door sounded.
It was rough, Junior’s loud voice outside the door.
“Open the door. I know you’re in there. You left! Without saying anything! Didn’t answer my calls!”
He kept banging, and she ran to the door just to get him to stop.
Keeping the chain on the door she opened it enough to see him. “Jinyoung. Stop."
He took a step back, angry scowl on his face. "Me? Stop? Open the door. What’s wrong with you?"
Blinking to keep from crying she sighed. "I left to save your repetition. To keep you from having to take me out the back. Don’t wanna upset massa."
"Massa? What’s that mean?” Gears clicked in his head as he realized that she heard the conversation between him, and the manager.
"Slaves used to call the master that. I’m guessing you can see why I’m upset. Having a history of being made to do those things.“
Junior sighed leaning his head against the door.
"It wasn’t like that Jagi. She used the wrong words, but did you even hear what I said after that? She says the wrong things, but she means well. She was trying to stop another outrage.”
She had turned her face away from the door, snapping back now as he said that. “What outrage?"
Without thinking Junior answered. "Over…I don’t care. Just open the door."
"No. I-I need to be alone, Junior. I need to be alone right now to think. Sort out how I feel about everything."
Junior took a step back looking at her. His eyes pleading. "Jagi, stop. Let me in, so I can soothe you.” He reached through the door crack touching her face with his fingertips.
"Not today. Just, let me do this.“ He understood. Or at least he thought he did, stepping away from the door, he watched her close it.
Hands in his pockets. He stood there awhile wondering if she was on the other side of the door. Placing a hand on it, he sighed whispering close to the wood and hoping she heard him.
"I love you."
With the release of a new song, Junior was very busy. He texted and called every night at the same time like he usually did. She didn’t seem to be so into their phone calls at first. but he managed to make her laugh and she still told him she loved him. She was standing with her back to the door when she closed it. She had heard him say that he loved her.He sent flowers to her job every day he didn’t see her. He signed the cards: Park JinYoung. One set of flowers contained 2 dozen white roses, and in the middle was a single red rose. The card attached read:
I’ll stop loving you, when the last flower dies.
Catch was the red rose, in the group was made of metal. It wouldn't wilt like the rest. She smiled reading the card, taking the red flower out feeling how lightweight it was. It carried the hint of some perfumed fragrance, and she set it on her desk on top of the card.
In truth,she was a foreigner here in Korea. She had a great paying job, at a wonderful firm. That was just one place, there was still sexism in the world and yes in Korea. There was still an air of colorism and distrust of anything new. Sure, in the US there were mixed couples and no one usually batted an eye, but here? This was new and she knew she needed to understand that. Girls could be crazy for their idols. They actually did call them idols here. Junior was worshiped, all of the Kpop and Krap guys were. To her it was a bit disturbing sometimes, how into their lives these girls could be. Was this the life she wanted? Constant shows and interviews. Tours. The Korean population could erupt against Junior should they not accept his relationship, and surely his label would drop him if it became a problem. She sighed in all this thinking, nights alone to really contemplate about what she wanted. Her job was one that wasn’t on contract she should do what she want. Could she really go home and forget all this? Forget him? Would he even come for her? A sexual harassment case erupted at her job, so she was on damage control trying to sort that out, and next thing she knew it was 2 weeks before she saw Junior in person and not on face time.
She came home one evening tired, and annoyed, to see a pink box in front of her door. She picked it,up opening the card on top, to see that it was from Junior. Inside was a nightie. If that. A piece of material white in color, that was lace and a garter belt. She grinned shaking her head, hand on the door as she heard Junior’s voice.
“I can’t wait to see you in it.” He startled her and she jumped, box falling from her hands.
Rushing over he picked up the material, placing it back inside to stand and look at her. “Would you like to go on a small day trip with me? 2 days actually.”
He smiled at her, lips so pink, teeth so white. She smelled his cologne and felt herself falling all over again. He knew what he was doing, hands on hers as he opened her door and lead her inside the apartment.
“Where are we going?” Taking off her shoes she, walked to her room setting everything on the bed.
“Starting right now, I’m on a bit of vacation. We finished a music video for the song, everything is done for awhile. I want to take you to a couples spa. Just us. Let’s forget our cares, and just relax. I need it. So do you.” He started unbuttoning her blouse, lips on her neck.
“And if I say no?” She peeled her arms from the sleeves, turning around as his hands unzipped her skirt pushing the pencil fit material down her legs.
“You won’t. You want to go, and you want to spend time with me.” Junior’s hands found her breasts, cupping them, he deftly did away with the material that covered them massaging the orbs.
She turned around, moving from his grasp to sit down on her bed removing her jewelry. “A couples spa?”
Junior moved toward the window opening the blinds enough that the full moon outside shown in. He cut the lights off, moving back towards the bed removing his clothes.
“Yes. I figured it would be something you like. Intimate, quiet, tranquil. massages and all that.” His slacks came off his legs, standing in the moonlight in his boxers.
She looked up and down his chest, heart racing in her chest as she realized the spell he had over her. He licked his lips watching her body, as she scooted back on her bed. “Do you have any idea how beautiful you are in moonlight, >>>?”
“Only what you tell me.” She lifted her legs, giving him a glimpse of what he wanted to see.
His breath caught in his throat he climbed on top of the bed, and over her lips meeting. She kissed him, hands coming to either side of his face, she craved this, craved him. Was this some sort of punishment? Was his ability to bewitch her like this something unique to him or just her stupidity in loving him? Either way she gasped as his hands found her sweet spot, hoping that it was the former.