An open letter to kids like me
I remember writing this blog post almost five years ago now, and I can't think of a better time to repost this.
To my beautiful brown babies:
I know who you are, and I know how you feel. Every day, you are reminded that you are different. You are surrounded by people who don’t look like you. You are surrounded by people who don’t understand your internal struggle.
To you, I offer this advice:
Fit in where you fit in.
You are a beautiful puzzle piece. What happens when you try to force a puzzle piece in a spot where it doesn’t belong? It just doesn’t work. It doesn’t fit, and it’s noticeable. Don’t take the easy way out. Be yourself. Don’t try and change yourself for anyone.
Don’t be anyone’s token.
Think about the people you surround yourself with. If when someone says “it’s OK, I have a black friend,” are you that “black friend”? Is someone going on a date with you because they’ve “never been out with a black person before” or “always wanted to date a black boy/girl”? If you want to be that person that someone can check off on his or her bucket list, go for it. But I believe you’re better than that.
If people want in, let them in.
I grew up having friends who understood that they didn’t understand how I was feeling, but they still wanted to know what was going on. So, I told them. And in the end, it was not only therapeutic for me (sometimes you want to talk to someone other than your parents) but it was also helpful for them to understand me better.
Thank your parents.
Think it’s hard for you? Imagine how it is for your parents. They worked hard to get you where you are, but they know you’re struggling. It was unbelievably hard for my mom to watch me cry in high school because I didn’t have a boyfriend and felt like no one was attracted to me. Your parents are trying to give you the best life possible. Appreciate it.
Accept the challenge.
God put you where you are for a reason. What you learn through this time of your life will guide you in ways that will blow your mind. Trust me. Take everything in and be self aware.
Anyone who tells you you “aren’t black enough” is a fool. Anyone who tells you you “act white” is just plain wrong. Anyone who tries to tell you who you are doesn’t deserve your time.
You are the decider of your destiny, the inventor of your identity. You create your own story; and, perhaps more importantly, you write the final chapter.
Something my mother told me years ago: We are living out a dream that so many people had. That so many people fought for and died for. We have the lives that people never thought we would have. Live your lives with honor and with purpose.
We are the dream.