“I am not my semblance”

“N*gg*r” was the most common thing I heard growing up, whether from my team mates, class mates, or their parents. Often I was asked what I was, ethnic wise. “African American of course” I would respond but once I got older I noticed most other African Americans were darker than I was and did not have colored eyes. Eventually my peers began challenging me, poking me, pushing me, hurting me yet I was somehow always to blame (according to the school administration). My self confidence got lower and lower,

I became afraid of other people looking at me- passing judgment on the way I look so I began hiding. During lunch I would sit alone in a class room and leave if someone came in, I avoided physical and eye contact, hoping it would deflect attention from me. As I got to high school and transferred school districts I got a whole set of new peers, not so racist and judgmental and unaware of my insecurities, they began making comments. “I love your hair!” a peer would say, then she would grab my hair and pull, watching the curls stretch out and then snap back around my ears. At first it never bothered me but as people continued it, it became a routine- an annoying routine I might add. What confused me was why it was okay for everyone to pull on my hair yet it was so rare for someone to walk up to a Caucasian female and pet her head. Never quite sure why it bothered me so much.

I just recently discovered that I am half African American and Half Native American and the discovery of that has made me not only more prideful in my physical appearance but also more culturally and racially sensitive to others. It took me a while but eventually I realized that I may not be beautiful according to societies standards but I am beautiful in my own way