Michigan in Color: Claiming my Color

Yellow Smile

Yellow Smile Buy this photo
Courtesy of Julie Cruz
Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 12:43pm

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 aquiline features, wavy hair, and beige-ish skin,

That I am completely one of them

And only them.

That they have license to say things, think things, and express things about my other half

That they 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.

Overall, raised within 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, Indian, Latina

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 into my soul.