Claiming My Color

 

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Musing over the Wynwood Walls in Miami, FL

Can’t stop thinking about my skin.

I am confusing. And sometimes, I am confused.

Right now, it’s a faded mocha;

the winter has taken a lot out of me,

including my color.

And every time I see lingering eyes, questioning,

I know they, strangers, are wondering:

Is she really white? Brown? Or something else?

 

I do not prefer it when people assume,

when they see my aquiline features,

my wavy hair, and my beige skin,

that I am completely one of them.

I do not respect their license

to say things, think things, and express things

about my other half

that they otherwise would not have said

had I looked more definitive.

 

I am not white. At least, that’s not all. I am

A German mother, born and raised.

A Black father, Cuban blood in his veins.

A last name that lingers.

A tongue that speaks all three.

These are reminders of my many heritages,

Raised in the conglomerous, colorful culture that is

American, I am

Black. And white.

I am both. Not half.

 

Yes, it’s a bit confusing, I suppose.

Still trying to figure it out myself.

Some days I feel like a chameleon,

blending seamlessly into the communities

which surrounded me since childhood:

Black, South Asian, East Asian, Latinx.

Other days, I do not dare impose myself

in these inner circles for fear of questioning stares.

Sometimes, my ambiguity causes distance from any one group.

It really just depends.

 

I know that overall, I am thankful for my blend.

I am learning the stories of how I came to be.

The histories of who came before.

And the fates of who will be next.

As summer nears,

I’m finding that color again.

Letting it seep back into my skin

And warm myself from within.

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