4 Things I Want to Tell Preteen Me

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One

It is about time you realized that you are black

you still don’t know what that means

But one day you will

And you will never have felt more beautiful or misunderstood

A year ago your hair was pin straight

Seems like overnight your plain Jane transformed into a mane

For a while

Carrying confusion in the curls

spend years too afraid to even touch them

Not wanting to upset you ancestry into a frenzy of frizz that

Could never be as wholesome as a “real black girl’s” fro

you will never know that kind of majesty

give up on it right away

love whatchu got cause you still got history.

 

Two

Please put away patchwork idolization of white women you will never look like

Pull the dictionary of words like

            Thigh gap

            Pointed nose

            Porcelain

From your back pocket, burn all of the expectations

Stand in before your foggy bathroom mirror and trace the words

Beautiful onto your forehead

Sturdy onto each hip

Healthy on the left thigh

Home on the right

There isn’t a woman in the world that wouldn’t want your ass

Remember that when they mistake your size 14 jeans for a fixation with food

You will never be a size two

You are a masterpiece of curved edges, soft and shapely

You are your own image of perfection.

 

Three

Prepare for all of the questions.

Load your tongue with ammunition and fire on sight

At the women wanting to know if they can comb their

Privileged fingers through your crown of curls

The men

Not just the white men

Whose idea of flirtation is asking

What color your nipples are

As if by virtue of curiosity coupled with ignorance and coated in the filthy

Commodification of your soon to bloom chest,

They have any right to verbally strip you.

When they start to ask you what you are

The white girls will think you are too black

And the black girls will say that you are too white

You will have no answer that will ease their confusion

Stop wearing the earthy birthmark like a stamp on your back

You do not need to prove where you come from

Learn, very soon the vocabulary

To say fuck you a little more eloquently and then forgive them of their transgression

 

Four

You will soon be terrified

drawing parallels in history to black bodies

Shaped just like yours

Stripped down and sold to any man with an eye for the “exotic”

do not stand for having your identity torn from you

do not shed your clothes

just to prove that there were scars on your ancestor’s backs

do not settle their stomachs with an explanation for why your ass is so fat

but your lips are so thin

do not compare stories about absent fathers or target your own race in “jokes” on “black twitter” to fit in

Teach your siblings the way to love every kink and curl

Own every curve

Appreciate all of the history

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