Being part of the beauty industry can be challenging, especially when we value certain features and emphasize outer beauty. At Kainat Beauty, we have been working to demonstrate that we are all different, and our differences make us beautiful. We believe inner beauty is a force more powerful than we can imagine. This is not always easy, not only to demonstrate, but to live by. This month we want to shine a spotlight on a friend who truly has embraced this message and is teaching it will eloquence and enthusiasm.
We've known Shaunii Rawls, age 23, for quite some time. When you meet her, it is hard not to like her immediately. She is sincere, smart, and very positive. Over the last few years, she finished her degree at Savannah State, won Miss Black Georgia and has blossomed into much more than a lovely young lady, she has become a powerful force of inspiration. It is amazing that someone of her stature and age is so aware of how to share her gift, engage the community and be a positive role model, especially for young women. Here is her story:
When you hear the word birthmark, what is your first thought?
Try using the words burned, bleached, and snake skin; The cliff hangers to my stigma.
I was born with a birthmark that covers my entire body. My birthmark begins above my upper lip and ends at my toes.
Growing up, my family never treated me differently.
It was when I moved to a new school, away from childhood friends, that I realized that I was unique.
Moving to a new school, away from life long friends. automatically takes a toll on a teen. At this age, not only is puberty revealing itself, but the pressure of fitting in with your new classmates is intensifying. Attending a new school was hard, but intriguing, as I tried to make the best of it.
My best quickly turned into my worst. For the first time, I realized that I looked different. For the first time, I experienced bullying. The experience was mostly verbal, but the words felt like punches to the chest.
As humans, we do not realize how our words impact others. There is power in the tongue. In a split second, we can say something that can effect a person for a lifetime.
I would go home, to try to wash away my skin. As I got older, I would transition to using make-up and bleaching creams. The creams did not work. I eventually stopped using them.
Wondering why God made me this way, my last resort was to try to pray my skin away.
My grades began to slip. Comparing myself to other girls became a habit. Quickly, I began to become succumbed into negativity. I was tired of feeling as if I was consistently drowning in a pool of negativity.
Being negative took a toll, not only on me but the people who I loved. I knew that I had to conquer negativity, somehow.
I began to write letters to God, which then turned into sticky notes of positive affirmations. In this time, I used the verbiage I AM, I WILL, and I CAN.
Practicing positive affirmations, instilled a new found confidence in me. I began to realize that my adversity was leading me into my purpose.
My birthmark was no longer a stigma, but yet a story. A story of growth, wisdom, and strength. My birthmark personified beauty.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but true beauty is embedded in the skin. True beauty starts from your heart, mind, and soul. No moisturizer or creams can replace your skin's inner glow.
We live in a world where perfection is publicized, when it's our imperfections that need to be glorified .
Finding my purpose, allowed me to make a change in my community.
I want young girls and women to realize that their stigma is their story. Without it, you wouldn't be the person that you are today. STOP MAKING EXCUSES! Every challenge that we face in life serves to make us stronger, confident, and wiser. CONQUER your challenges. CHANGE the standard. Your PURPOSE is powerful. Oprah said it best; Turn your wounds into wisdom. What better way to celebrate the QUEEN in you than with a FREE MAKEOVER? Every Friday, I am choosing 6 lucky ladies, until April 28th, who want to join the movement of self-love. Create a video, write a post, or post a photo sharing your stigma story with me. Make sure to #StigmaStory and tag @missblackgausa. Go to shauniirawls.com for more information.