It gets old trying to explain to people what it’s like to be a walking contradiction. To have to be proud yet humble, strong yet weak, firm yet accommodating. To trust a world that has an agenda opposite of just letting me be, yet not be offended when the world proves that case to be true. To have to explain over and over again why I don’t wilingly place myself in situations for fear of judgment, whether overt or covert, set in stereotypes I didn’t establish. Having to defend my privileged speaking or explain why code switching is necessary. And to have that all thrown back in my face by the statement of, “Oh, that’s just you. You don’t have to be so defensive all the time”… You may as well slap me down where I stand. That would be just as damaging.
For those of you who have never has to second guess an action or word for fear it would place you in a box, or never had a decision made about you simply because you skin is darker than is “acceptable”… I salute you. My defenses are triggered because of how the world sees fit to define me, without even really knowing me. You’ll never really understand that because you walk in a room and the positives are assumed. I walk in a room, sit at a desk, blink my eye, take a breath and insurmountable assumptions are made about “the black girl”. Without me even saying a word. My skin says it for me.
If you’ve never had to deal with the pressure I have to bear every day, the watchful eye I’m always under, the presumptions I have to face… I salute you. I’d never wish this burden on anyone yet I wish you all could feel it, just for a minute. The self consciousness borne of waking up in a world that dissects me and tells me my place, then mocks my trepidation.
It’s all in my head. It’s all my design. It’s all my fault, right? Right.