The moment someone tried rubbing “the black” off of me, was the moment I knew I hated being black. There were other things I disliked about myself. I hated my nose, but I could get plastic surgery. I hated my curly, voluminous hair, but that could be straightened, but changing my skin tone, that’s a lot harder to “fix”. I was the puzzle piece that just didn’t fit.
Being different confused me, but if someone asked “Do you love yourself?” my response was always, “Of course?! Look at me!” Very confidently, very boastful, but never honest.
Somehow I managed to become friends with the hottest kids on campus. They were popular and pretty, just like every dumb high school boy wants to have a “fling” with. But I was always the girl was that was just the friend to the pretty people. I was always just...there. Never a corner piece, never a straight piece, just the wrong puzzle.
But this all changed the moment I decided to Facetime Alexa. Alexa was the hot, light skin girl that every guy salivated over during high school. She was not only my friend, but my role model throughout my freshman year of highschool. Having thick, curly, dense hair was not only a security of mine, but hers as well. But the moment her face popped up on my phone, her hair was not the long, bone-straight hair I was used to, but short, bobbed, and curly. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. She cut off almost all her hair?! So many questions swarmed my brain. After she calmed me down, she explained why she made the big chop. Alexa explained that when she moved out of the state, she realized straightening her hair wasn’t making her like everyone else. Participating in the latest trends or buying her friends items wasn’t making her fit in. Nothing was. Because she isn’t like everybody else, and that was her superpower. And that was the moment I started believing in puzzle pieces.
I believe in puzzle pieces: all different shapes, all different sizes, all unique in their own way. A person might have the right puzzle piece, but for the wrong puzzle.
I believe that the ultimate power is the power of being different. It allows for one to grow as an individual. Being different also releases stress, anxiety and worries of doing what everyone else is doing. It also allows an open attraction of people that have the same morals and values as you. It allows for a world to be filled with vasts amount of creativity, stability, and love.
So that one day, I’m glad they weren’t able to rub the black off of me because being African American is what makes me different, being African American is what makes up my one-of-a-kind puzzle.