I’ve been sitting on this for a while now, so I guess it’s finally time to write this down. See…I grew up with a BLACK grandmother who never had a frown. Nana told me to always keep my head up…never let THEM catch you with your head down. Nana always told me that I had three odds against me. What’s that you might ask? Nana said I’m a girl. Nana said I’m a black girl. Nana said I’m a thick black girl. Which is why I have to understand why I had to work three times as hard in this THIN WHITE WORLD. That’s fine. What’s a little hard work anyway? But as I sit on the back on this shuttle bus in a sea full of white, “Dre, I got something to say…..”
It makes no damn sense for me to sit here beside Snow WHITE. Hmph. For all I know, she could be my cousin. As if being the thick BLACK girl ain’t enough, now I have to face these grim smiles and half-ass hand shakes…the awkward spaces…and these other BLACK faces that act as if we didn’t come from the same places. Okay, I get it. There’s even these COLOR‘izms within minorities. The way LIGHT SKIN women toss their hair at me as if this thick BLACK girl is nothing worth to see. Damn. Who knew even my own COLOR would be against me? Not only are the asians bombrushing me for class seats…It’s my own BLACK girls who can just walk by and not even speak. Not even the slightest head nod. You know like the nod the WHITE people give us because we’re not even worthy of a parting of their lips. Hmph. They think I never notice how their first look is at my DARK skin,…and their second look is at my wide hips. God…..I could never question why’d you make me black…but I’ll always wonder when I’ll be equal. Why LIGHT SKIN can often seem like the original, and this DARK skin is nothing but a sequel? Why my own men could ever lay down in a bed with the slave master’s daughter…why BLACK is too loud now to ever court her. I could go on and on all day about how color really does matter…because it’s true. Remember na’, this is coming from the thick BLACK girl in this thin WHITE world…where “WHITE is right” and BLACK men are criminals and will rape you. Where WHITE men wear tailored suits and BLACK men wear orange suits. Where WHITE girls get DARK tans and BLACK girls get LIGHT weaves. That’s just how much COLOR really means. We’re on a field fighting in combat each day over COLOR…because they wanna be us and we just wanna “fit” with them…and day by day….COLOR wins. I went to work with WHITE people who lovingly embraced the new ASIAN. There I just sat as the thick BLACK girl I was…Always killing them with a smile. Always killing them with grace…but in my head I don’t understand why WHITE people can’t look me in my face? Can’t stare too long in my eyes…yet manage to be disgusted by my big thighs. At least, that’s how it felt this one time I competed in a swim meet. I stepped on the diving block in my one piece…and all the WHITE eyes in the crowd were on me. I could hear everything…and at that moment…COLOR made this thick BLACK girl feel like utterly nothing….until the buzzer sounded (BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!)…and it was time to go. All eyes watched me…like it was a circus show…and as I swam hard for last place…I could see those same WHITE faces saying, “GO…..GO…..GO!” I could see those same WHITE faces smiling at my endurance…cheering on my patience….but satisfied by my loss. Nonetheless, I thought just then COLOR…just maybe…COLOR no longer had to be the boss. But, that died quickly. Because, it’s not reality…COLOR will always be EQUALITY’S biggest enemy. COLOR will separate me from “Jenny down the block.” COLOR will break up the happy couple that’s being told to stop. COLOR will build up pretty hair and tear down afros. COLOR will allow white girls to wear blue hair and tell black girls “NO!” COLOR will always darken prison cells yet lighten Wall Street. COLOR will fire gun shots during city sweeps. COLOR put Rodney King in a casket before Trayvon ate his skittles or ever had the chance to drink his Arizona Tea. COLOR shitted on Philando Castile…COLOR ALWAYS finds the white suspects “NOT GUILTY.” COLOR will always matter. Just ask the Charleston 9. We celebrate “our COLOR” but do we think about how COLOR just sometimes ain’t that divine? Do we realize the lackluster of COLOR in this society? There’s no reason that “COLOR” should have us wondering if one day our sons or brothers will die on our American streets. COLOR. It looks at our men as Uncle Tom….and our women, Aunt Jemima. All these COLOR’izms…It’s too much if we’re truly supposed to be “the land of the free.” Free. Hmph. COLOR ain’t nothin’ but 21st century slavery. I don’t want anyone scared of my COLOR. I just want them scared of ME…and only ME.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. rests in COLOR.
I played myself. Thinking I could travel down the road of perfection, pretending in this mask of deception…not realizing the beauty of self-reflection. Thinking I could bury my insecurities, cover my lustful impurities, and shield the world from my obscurities. Thinking I could lie my way out of the truth, indulge in the permanent ways of my youth, acting like the wild woman while being told to be “Ruth.” Perfection. That’s the road I choose. Because if I get pregnant at 21 with no man to marry, that’ll be my ultimate bruise. My ultimate scar. I choose perfection for the sake of my mothers mistakes…and to cover up that night in that car. I choose perfection to make up for that one time I danced up high in that bar…Perhaps, perfection chose me to repent for that long drag on Bourbon Street on that cheap cigar. I literally played myself. Choosing the road to insecurity versus inner beauty, not understanding souls cry out for what the eyes cannot see. Sometimes, I can’t help but think, “What is wrong with me?” I’d rather choose a blind heart than take a fresh start with a man that wants to marry me. I’d rather cuddle with potential and shrug good credentials because “I see something he can’t see.” That’s right. I see kings in jokers and instantly become Wonder Woman, not letting my own superman come save me. I choose a freedom road rather than predictability. I choose heartbreak sometimes rather than traveling with love. It’s hard sometimes to put me first…hard to “set my mind on things above.” I choose whatever road gets me there fast…and not slow. Thinking that life shouldn’t come with a struggle, priorities shouldn’t come with a juggle, and my heart? Well, that’s always up for snuggle. It’s always up for grabs. Because I choose love over hate. I choose “Let’s try” over fate. I choose “I’m a independent black woman that likes to go on dates.” I rode all these roads…traveled all these roads…reaching for perfection. Still traveling in a mask of deception…and ready for deep self-reflection. Truth is, it’s time to stop at the first quarter of this journey…I now realize it matters not how the world sees me. It only matters how I see me. After all, only God can judge me. I stopped in front of a tree, faced my insecurity, and said “Insecurity is me.” He’s my demon and my angel, my joy and my regret…Insecurity reads me like a book and challenges me like a threat. It pushes me to my limits and makes me work harder. I’ll stay on this road before I ever travel with beauty because…Insecurity is me…and just like beauty-it’s all a part of what the eyes cannot see. Therefore my insecurity? Oh, that’s beauty. I can no longer bury him behind confidence, or whisk him away in a new pair of jeans…This road…This road teaches me Insecurity is both my pain and addiction….He’s my lover & my fighter…my friend & my infliction. I cannot simply hide from him anymore on this journey. I cannot be perfections prisoner on this road traveling on this imperfect gurney. It’s time for me to turn around now and recognize exactly what’s perfect about me. What a relief it has been to be maskless in this bashful society. How liberating it is to smile in the mirror not from the beauty I see, but from the radiance of God’s voice in me that screams “I got me.” “I got you.” Like a soft whisper, I’ll never forget the night God said that to me. I was drowning on the road to perfection, trying to swim in goggles of deception, struggling to face self-reflection. I’ll never go back to that road. I’ll never stoop low as to fade in anyone’s background. I’ll never be the nice girl again who doesn’t make a sound. I’ll never return to hating my insecurities in efforts to fulfill the standard “beauty”. I will treasure what’s in my heart, not what the eyes can see. I will choose love, because that’s what God tells me. I will always be light. I will always be filled with glee. For some months now, I thought God was missing from me. I thought I was stunting my own growth. I neglected that two roads really did diverge into a yellow wood. And I’m sorry….I could not travel both.
Inspiration from: “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost