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The Trouble With Me
Too many hours were wasted as a child
scrubbing away at my mud colored skin.
Too many prayers were spent questioning God as to why I was given the “bad color”.
Because that’s what we were taught black was, right?
Black magic, and phantoms, and the dark where criminals in black clothes driving black vans will steal you off the streets if you didn’t stay close to home.
It’s the color of dirt, and cockroaches, and the tainted Galveston beach water.
So when my friend first told me I spoke like a white person I wore it like a golden medal around my neck because white is good right?
Angels, and vanilla ice cream,and snow, and the moon.
It’s the color of marshmallows, and wedding dresses, and doves.
I knew I couldn’t be completely white, no, that would be silly. With this new “privilege” I became more than black or white. I delved into the in between and allowed myself to become both simultaneously.
Oreo, a coconut, an ice cream sandwich, a coloring page. People love those things, right?
This became my new disguise, my new superpower as I allowed myself to switch between “proper” and “ghetto”.
But when my crush told me he only liked caramel skin and lighter because anything darker was “ghetto” in his eyes I realized my skin had betrayed me once again.
To make up for it I began attempting to defy the stereotypes: replacing soda with Starbucks and weave with natural hair( despite getting a perm to make it softer and thinner), avoiding rap and listening to pop.
It wasn’t until years later that I looked up from my skin and looked around to see my white friends rapping and my black friends at Starbucks I realized the colors between black and white had blended into a dull gray.
As the barista handed me my coffee i noticed the cream had made a soft brown hue, a bit lighter than mine.
At another table, a few feet away, a child ate a chocolate mousse cake that was almost my tone.
He looked up, chocolate syrup on his pale skin, and smiled.
What caught my attention was his eyes.
They didn’t remind me of the black vans creeping down the streets at night, or the dirt pies my kindergarten teacher would look at in pure disgust.
They were the color of: Hershey kisses, and the leaves in fall, and chocolate ice cream, and chocolate cake, and hit chocolate, and my friend’s hair, and m&m’s, and most importantly