Over the years, I have been told I’m funny, smart, and have a calming presence. I have also been told that I am a “White girl trapped in a black girl’s body.” I remember the day I first heard this insult, in 5th grade during recess by the swings. A classmate, and someone I considered my “friend,” pointed out the way I walked and constantly talked and labeled it all as “White behavior.” Even some of the things I liked were not enough for her and many others to consider myself Black.
This topic is important to talk about but hard to address. I know I am not the only one who grew up facing these demeaning insults or struggled with their identity because of it. I know I’m not the only one who felt like they could not belong to any group of people because of consistent reminders. As I went to college and became more independent, I noticed my lack of confidence in various situations. I worried that those around me were constantly judging me and picking me apart, trying to determine if I really belonged here. I came up with three important reminders to help myself grow:
2. No one can determine who you are. You define yourself.
In high school, someone airdropped a few racist pictures to me. This situation made me feel even more alone and confused about where I belonged. I remember crying in bed, praying to God, and asking why he made me so different? I felt as if I had nowhere to turn but to God. That is what started my journey into being proud of who I was, every part of me. I still struggle with the trauma that developed over the years and still want to curl up in a ball in certain situations.
However, I love every part of myself and have more confidence than I ever did at the beginning of high school. In addition to the three reminders above, my best advice is the advice I needed to hear when I was younger: the world may THINK they know what you are, but only you KNOW who you are. And your creation is intentional.