“What are you,” they ask me
To which I reply
… I'm Melina
They scoff and mentally pat me on the shoulder
A look in there eyes that tells me that they take in pity
In my not knowing of a punchline to a joke that isn't in a language that I speak
Your skin says you're white
Your hair says you're black
Your lips say you're white
Your nose says you're black
So what is it?
Make up your mind.
My mind is already set in stone
They have the audacity to ask such a question
When I’ve already told them the one and only answer they need?
What am I?
What. Am. I?
I am me.
Now I know that some would have me believe that I am conformed to a label.
Like a can at the store
Telling you, hey, here is the absolute entirety of my contents.
But what you would predict isn't always as it seems.
The only truthful label that I'll give is that I'm human.
And just like everybody else I'm stuffed with
Organs and veins and nerves and muscles and bones.
And that's about the only thing that connects me and you
To every other single living human on this planet.
So go ahead and be prejudice, take a guess about me.
Just look at my face and my clothes and my body
And YOU tell ME what I feel, and what I think
Because certainly you know me better than I know myself.
I know that your labels are the product of a society
That developed in the womb of judgment
And was nursed by a silent mother who could offer no salvation.
So you carried on with the artificial sweetener and color
Because it's all that you really knew…
It's been inside your simple mind since you babbled your first word.
And took your first step on the earth…
...How could you be so blind to this world and the vast uniqueness it holds?
I can see.
And I know...
With all the complexities and choices and possibilities of humanity
it is a goddamn miracle that I am the way that I am
Because all the odds in this universal game of fate were stacked against me.
Just one flap of a butterfly's wings could POP me out of existence.
But no, I'm here.
All the choices that all those individuals before us made
Led you and I right here.
I'd like to think that God was playing with loaded dice all along.
He knew, oh, He knew
And he did not give us white skin,
He did not give us black hair,
He did not give us Asian eyes,
He did not give us Jewish noses.
No, he knew the complexity
That came into play with creating a living breathing thinking loving feeling,
So I know that he gave me my skin
And my hair
And my lips
And my nose.
I am human.
I am a laugh.
I am a smile.
I am a bubbling sack of emotions that crash over each other like tidal waves.
And I'm completely different from the next guy.
And after so many nights of crying over what somebody else thought,
I couldn't even think for myself.
But I know that each and every one of us are valuable
And significant and deserve the greatest.
It's comforting to know I stand amongst others
That conquered the game of fate and followed a different path.
Because you are unique just like me.
But some need to categorize to feel comfortable in their own skin.
So they can go ahead and label me mixed or black or white
Or whatever the hell they want to call me.
I can sleep easy knowing I'm comfortable being myself.
But there is only a single word
That can truly encompass the entirety of the blessing
That is myself and my existence.
And that's my name.
And that's the only thing I would want you to call me, period.