When I Was A Child..

When I was a child I was told that I was black but not black black. I didn't quite fit into the pre-packaged, tick-one-only boxes society had for me. Which made it difficult when trying to find my place. 

Box 1: Black - though my hair is nappy enough that I would fail the pencil test, I would pass the paper bag test and be moved to the next category. 

Box 2: Mixed -  I didn't have a white mom like the rest of the mixed race girls at school. Both my parents were "black" so that made me ineligible. 

Box 3: Other. - hey, you can just call me the president of the pre-black, post-mixed society. For those of us who are not quite one but not quite the other either.  

 

When I was a child I was told that I was too American to really be British and too British to really be American. I shouldn't call a cockerel a rooster but I should add those extra u's to words and write the date the right way? The sidewalk is really the pavement but the bin is the trash and I don't know which garbage anthem to sing or what I should be more proud to be since neither nation ever really cared about my people. But then again who are my people? Who am I? 

 

When I was a child I didn't know who I was, or whose I was. I didn't know where I belonged or who I belonged to. I never really fit in anywhere but could fit in everywhere. I was so many things, I was nothing. I had no box. No place. No country. No people. 

 

Then I realised I'm not supposed to fit into a box. God has never limited me so why should I allow others to do so? Now that I understand whose I am, I've come to love who I am.

 

Hi. My name is Jada. I'm 20. I was born in D.C. I grew up in England. I'm of West Indian descent by way of Jamaica and Barbados. I am also an African-American. I am lightly melanated with 3c/4a curls (since you never actually get 1 curl pattern) and the wide nose of my ancestors. 

 

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a woman, I put away childish things, like believing that being a part of so many cultures was a negative. That I can't accept and embrace all of the little pieces of heritage that have come together to make me who I am. One box does not define me and cannot contain me and I'll never try to fit myself into one again. 

This poem is about: 
Me

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