One day in middle school, I came home sobbing. I could barely speak as I told my mom all about the bullying I faced by black girls in my school because I was in all honors classes and how I “dressed like a white girl.” I went to a predominantly white middle school and the black children used to gather at one table.
I used to smile when I saw the group at lunch. Some days I wondered what would happen if I sat at their table. As I walked by where they sat to go sit with my friends from my honors classes, they would whisper and say things like “who does she think she is…” or “she ain’t black because (this girl got money or this girl be acting all bougie).”
Those words carried with me into high school. In high school, I used to look in the mirror for hours and think “does this make me look white?? or “how can I be more black??”
One day I woke up and realized that I did not to defend my blackness, my personality or my place in society.
Being me was being black.
Last week, an undergrad whom I truly adore messaged me to say:
You’re definitely a beacon for women of color on campus.
That day in high school I vowed to be the best me I could be and know that I did not need to work to be black.
If you face the same bullying or feelings of confusion/that you do not belong or fit the arbitrary social construct, know that you are perfect just the way you are.
I hope by the end of my program, my beautiful black girls know that they are perfect just the way they are and that they do not have to belittle or alter their ambitions just because the field is reserved for people who are traditionally white.
Repeat after me: I am proud of who and where I am today and I will speak, dress, act or talk in whatever way I see fit.