I Used to Wish...




I used to wish I was white...


...because then my Momma would've allowed me to have that white baby doll that peed herself for Christmas back in 1989. But then I saw how easy it was to scuff up the white doll, so all of a sudden, Teddy Rumpskin was all I needed.


I used to wish I was white...


...because then I would have long, silky hair that smelled of berries and could fan out neatly in the public pool as I swam. But then I learned that even white women wore hair extensions.


I used to wish I was white...


...because that meant I would've grown up in a two-parent home full of "double" love. But then I met Alicia and Crystal, sisters from a two-parent home who were both pregnant at the same time by the same boy at the age of 17.


I used to wish I was white...


...so that without a doubt, I would wake up on my 16th birthday to a brand new Honda Celica outside my bedroom window. But then I worked and bought my own car- a 1990 Pontiac Sunbird.


I used to wish I was white...


...because I would be guaranteed entry to ANY University of my choice. But then I worked hard again and earned a full-ride scholarship to the University of Louisville.


I used to wish I was white...


...because that meant I would have been raised in a household where chicken and steamed vegetables were served thus saving me from unhealthy eating habits, instead of Bojangles' Wednesday specials 3 days out of the week. But then I had dinner at Stephanie and Angela's house for the first of many times, and their mother always cooked fragrant, yet healthy Ethnic dishes.


I used to wish I was white...


...because that meant I wouldn't have been the quiet, smart, chubby, little black girl who was bullied for always following the rules. But then I had 7th-grade science with booger-eating Shannon back at Noe Middle School who had pale skin, and shaggy blonde hair, and never seemed to have a fresh pair of pants.


I used to wish I was white...


...because that meant I wouldn't have had to grow up in a rodent-infested shotgun house that sat 2 blocks away from the Shepherd's Square Housing projects. But then I met a dysfunctional black family from suburbia and a wholesome white family of 5 who lived in a two-bedroom unit in the Shepard's Square Housing projects.


And I used to wish I was white...


...because being white would ensure I could live a life free from injustice, discrimination, judgment, and hate. But then I met Skyler, a lively, eclectic, yet broken boy who wanted nothing more than to be who he really wanted to be.


You see, I used to wish I was white, merely because back then, I didn't know any better.


I didn't know that white dolls weren't allowed in the house because my Momma simply wanted me to be proud of who I was.


I didn't know that even little black girls could have long, beautiful, thick, natural hair and that although not long, my curls and coils are just as beautiful.


I didn't know that black families weren't exempt from having 2 parents present and that dysfunction didn't discriminate. how dare I take my Momma's efforts as a single parent for granted.


I originally didn't know that being handed things all your life was a recipe for disaster and that so much pride and joy comes from working hard to buy your own.


For some reason, as a very young girl, I don't think I knew that college was even an option for me.


I had no idea that Bojangles, Long John Silver, and KFC were the family staples simply because that was my Momma doing the best she could with what she had.


As a young girl, I was rarely told to be proud of who I was and that, regardless of where I came from, or the "disadvantages" that helped mold me, that I could, and would rise above it all.


But then, over time, with each waking year and life experience, my ignorant perceptions became myths and those myths were busted by the facts. The facts that unfolded the truths- and the truth was, I was ultimately, yet indirectly being nurtured to love, embrace, and appreciate who I am, where I'm from, and all that I'm meant to be.



From this day forward, I vow to love myself, wholeheartedly- as I am.

I am important.

I am deserving.

I am worthy.

I am beautiful.

As I am.

I trust that all my life experiences, doubts, truths, and beliefs are what makes me ME.

I am...