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Do You Know Who I Am?

"You don't have to have straight hair to be beautiful."
Cheryl Browne in "Dreads" by Francesco Mastalia and AlFonse Pagano
I am proud of who I am. You should be proud of who you are too.
"Conflicted: a self-portrait", is a piece I drew to show how I feel about being black/African-American in America. I am now 13 years old and a young artist who uses my art to help others. I identify as an African-American/Caribbean Buddhist. I lived and went to private schools in Tokyo, Japan from ages four to seven. I had many friends from all over the world but very few were from America. Because I am different and look different I am bullied in passive and sometimes aggressive ways everyday at school. This makes me sad and frustrated.
My mom asked me a long time ago if I knew what my purpose was. I told her I feel my purpose is to help people around the world through my art. I realized this because people come up to me constantly to talk about my art. Many say they feel better after looking at my work and I am truly talented for someone so young.
Some kids around me use racial terms to make others laugh. Most of the time I feel invisible because I am excluded and ignored. It makes it hard to be at school for a person like me who believes in respecting others and getting respect in return.
I know some might find it hard to get pass my dreadlocked hair and my dark skin. I have been told I look like a monster, asked how I wash my hair. I have even been called the awful and negative 'N' word. These are just disrespectful things to say and to do to someone. I am a human being and I have regular hygiene habits just like any other healthy human being. I have feelings and emotions.
Art, music and writing and music are helping me, not only to overcome bullying in my life, but to improve my health and to help others. In past years, I voluntarily donated to those who were in need. I have become stronger, more confident person since I came back to the U.S.A from Japan.
My mom told me I should create something positive to overcome my situation and continue standing up. She told me that if I was not strong enough to make a stand now it would get harder later. I decided I'm done sitting back and taking the insults and daily disrespect from those who know nothing about me.
You can do the same.
Do not let people tell you who you are. You are the one who should make that decision and no one else. Stand up for what you believe in and have the courage to say how you feel. You will be surprised to see that bullies turn away when you push back. Running away or trying to fit in only makes them stronger and it makes you weaker.
Knowing my purpose helped me to become a stronger person. My identy as an African-American young woman living in America makes it even more important to know what my purpose is.
What is your purpose? Have you thought of that?
Who are you?
Let people know the real you. Share your story. Do not let others create one for you. I think when you do something you love and are happy doing it you get the best results.
Now you know who I am. I am proud to be me! You should be too!
Do you know who you are?
What is your purpose?!!!




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