My black skin, my strong features, my curvy figure… who am I? My self-hate, my dysfunction, my empty pockets… who am I? What did you leave behind for me? Was this your goal? Am I the one to pick up the baton you handed over to me? I don’t want it. I don’t want what you left behind, keep it all. It’s not meant for me. I keep trying to shake off what you left for me, but I can’t. It’s inside of me, your anger, pain, anguish, hate, sadness, and exhaustion. Why’d you leave that for me? You had to have known that it would hurt me. I guess you didn’t think that I didn’t want it either. This pain I get when I look in the mirror and I see me.
I have so many conflicting feelings. On one hand, I see beauty in my dark skin and my almond brown eyes. I see a crown atop of my coiled thick hair, lust in my curves, and love in my heart. But I also see you…. You. Your trauma. Suddenly my happiness diminishes, I no longer see the beauty that lies within me. I no longer have the gumption to face this world with what you left me…. Your bondage. I can’t be upset because you tried to get rid of it. You wanted to make it better for me, but I’m sorry to tell you that your trauma has passed down. What am I supposed to do now? Must I live with what you gave me? How do I get rid of this? See you gave me both good and bad. You gave me the ability to love me and be proud of me. While the world was hating you, you were trying to make sure they accepted and loved me. I know you didn’t want me to experience the hate you received and struggles you’ve endured. You held it together you internalized it so that I wouldn’t feel it. But again, your bondage wasn’t meant for me.**
I wrote this post last year when I was struggling with self-identity. I now see that even though the bondage of my ancestors have trickled down to me psychologically, their strength and fight has also. They weren’t just slaves, they were heroes. They paved the way for a better life for me and for my children and my children’s children. They took the necessary steps to translate through their pain, the courage, sacrifice, and love they had for their future. I will forever be thankful to my ancestors for everything they went through and have done for me. Their bondage is my bondage. May they rest in peace knowing I will continue to push forth in my journey with their love and blessing…
Photo of me and my children.