Michigan in Color: Claiming my Color
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
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.