I can’t believe I am one of those people but I am currently obsessed with the love story of Prince Harry and Meghan. I don’t usually get so invested in a stranger’s relationship – particularly that of the royals. To be honest, the coverage of the royal family in the past has been excessive and quite annoying at times however, here I am – completely and utterly immersed in this unlikely love story! I never thought I would see the day that an English Prince would marry a biracial woman…and I am excited.
I read a piece written by Megan for Elle magazine. In it she spoke eloquently about the racial discrimination and challenges she has had to face as the product of a mixed marriage. I felt like I could’ve been reading my own thoughts. My father is Croatian, my mother Mauritian. I am the youngest of three children and to say that I have faced my fair share of racial adversity is an understatement. As I grow older, and my skin has thickened and the racial undertones of people’s comments affect me less or not at all. Instead, I am now conscience and defensive of how my daughter will feel as the product of a Croatian father, and a Mauritian/Croatian mother.
I’m not saying that I was racially abused growing up. All I am saying is that I grew up feeling different due to being constantly reminded that I was. I never really knew where I fit. I wasn’t white, but I was. I wasn’t dark, but I was. I would often be asked the question ‘where are you from?’. It annoyed me. Clearly, I’m an Aussie yet I knew that’s not what they meant – they wanted to know my ethnicity. I would explain and then wait for the ooos and aaahs that would follow. Where is Mauritius? They would ask; or, ‘wow what a strange mix’. It annoyed me that people would constantly draw attention to my difference, couldn’t I just be Maria? Why did I have to be defined by my ethnicity?
In a world where the foundations of beauty are forged around Caucasian, blue eyes and blonde hair it was always hard for me to find inner confidence and feel beautiful. Everywhere I looked society told me I wasn’t. I didn’t see myself on the television, I didn’t play with a Maria looking Dolly and I didn’t have anyone like me to look up to. I would overhear conversations and hear things like ‘yeah she’s pretty…for a black girl’ (umm, what?). I watched my own mother struggle for years with the racism she would experience in her own family and culture and think to myself, – how dare they make her feel that way. My mum was clearly the Cinderella of her family therefore I knew it only came from a place of hate and jealousy. It was from seeing this primitive treatment that I decided I was not going to go through life letting anyone make me feel that way. The day I decided to embrace both sides of me was the day I felt truly ‘beautiful’. When people would ask me my background I would no longer sigh, but respond proudly. This is me and yes, I don’t fit the regular mould that you might be used to. Thankfully as time has progressed; acceptance, kindness and embracing your difference has become the norm.
So why in particular am I so freaking pleased Meghan is marrying Prince Harry? Because Myla gets to grow up seeing a biracial Princess that’s why! Everything I do in life now is for my daughter. I try and be conscience of what I say about myself, what people I surround myself with and what lessons she learns. I don’t want her to grow up feeling different for all the wrong reasons. I don’t want her to go a day focussing on something so trivial as skin colour. I dread the day that Myla gets bullied at school, especially if it is for the way she looks. I want my daughter and nieces to grow up with the confidence that it took me so long to gain. I want her to grow up with kindness in her heart and acceptance of people from all different backgrounds. Say what you want about the royals; but they do amazing things in the roles they were born into. Meghan will inevitably become a role model to many girls, including my own. The fact that Myla will be able to relate to this princess makes it extra special.