Growing Up White

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Yes I’m black. To some though, I wasn’t. To some, I wasn’t good enough. No real explanation. Just blanket statements.

Some people spend part of their lives shaping themselves to commit to an already planned out existence. But each step was like a needle to the arm: you didn’t die, but you felt it and you remember what happens the next time you encounter it.

Here’s just one of many stories that left a bad taste in my mouth. The culprits may not have realized, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.Print

Growing up black in a white neighborhood in itself is interesting, but it made traveling outside of it confusing. I already knew that people were called colors that they were in fact not, but outside of the suburbs there were also levels to this said color.

While playing outside on the streets of Ilion Avenue, my siblings and I were always told we talked white. I would see my sister’s eyes bulge like their death was gaining pressure. She hated it more than I did.

I never understood why telling us we talked liked a color and that talking that way should be shameful. But hey, most of them barely left the burrow and always asked to play with my Skip-it so who’s ashamed now?

As we got older Printand more color escaped the depths of a government controlled cycle where only a few were okay with their outcome, the criticizing began to change a little. The preteens have now lived life and could tell me a few things. And now were telling me I wasn’t black enough.

First, I sounded white (ew, I guess is what was supposed to say). Now, for some reason, I wasn’t black enough. Almost like a secret timeline they kept track of for final judgement. Sad, I had no clue I was being tested.

Again, wasn’t sure how I was really supposed to take that. I know how I did take it and have a journal for a year in high school to prove it. But here I was, black, sounding white, not being black enough.

Skip ahead to adulthood. After years and years of being told  I sounded like the wrong color, and my color was not enough to be a part of the color group, I was now beiPrintng told the color I was supposed to be and sound like was no longer the latest tea.

That tasted like shit.

A long monologue about love, and many of us got the cliff notes: “You’re too loud, angry, and independent.”

I don’t care who you love, just don’t beat down someone else to justify it.

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Happy Anniversary

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Okay. This may be long but I think it’s worth it. I want to say the most sincerest and genuine Happy Anniversary to the love of my life. Someone who was brushed off as a fling to some people. Someone who has showed me a love I’ve never felt before. Someone who paints a picture of what type of man a woman should look for.

To think, I almost let you get away.

I’d be lying if I said that this time we shared has been flawless, but it’s as close as I ever thought it would be. Every time I think of our relationship, I’m always taken back to our times sharing halal food while sitting on the floor of Penn Station. That was all we could afford and that was all the time we had. But it didn’t matter. We made a promise that it would be us against the world.

I never understood the meaning of a friendzone as I always believed the best relationship involves the best of friends. Can you imagine if we had nothing to say, nothing to share, or no reason to compromise to make sure the other person enjoyed themselves too? I can’t picture myself laughing as hard or maintaining such interest with someone else. I swear it’s like the Ying-yang symbol: perfect fit of opposites with just enough in common.

My mother raised me to never feel like I have to rely on any man to survive. It has made me stubborn in many positive ways. But I never thought that while I can keep that trait, I don’t have to feel that way. You have showed that your priority is to make me happy and keep me safe. Not many people can say that.

I am always sad to point this out, but in today’s time I guess it needs to be honored. Thank you for always treating me with respect. Thank you for making me your one and only. Thank you for never raising your hand. Thank you for respecting yourself and realizing your worth. Without this, this thing that we have would never exist.

If someone asked me 10 years ago if I ever thought I’d find someone like you, in some random place, having something random as going to the same high school in common…so random that you happened to be one of the mechanics to fix my very first car (R.I.P. POJ), to meet 6 years later, to fall in love so hard…let’s just say I would find it hard to believe.

Long story short, you are my favorite person to be around, favorite face to wake up to, favorite friend to confide in…you’re just my favorite all around. I still can’t believe it has already been 7 years. It seems like yesterday I caught you looking back letting me know you were interested. We’ve beat out many marriages and by the looks of the posts on social media, this thing we have should be recognized.

And always remember…EXTREME. EMOTIONAL. DISTRESS.