How did I grow up to be the tall, awkward, shy but opinionated, optimistic mixed girl?
Since I started school I was always quiet. I remember my first day of kindergarten I cried because I was so scared of being away from my parents. I was always very shy and as I got older that’s pretty much what every one who actually acknowledged my existence thought of when someone would mentioned me. But even though I was shy I still had to develop thick skin at an early age. I was in third grade when we had to move from the county to the city. It was a culture shock for me. I went from a predominately white elementary school and having mostly white friends to going to a very urban school with mostly blacks and Latinos. I remember my first day there I was walking in line to go to lunch and this dark skinned black girl was sitting in the corner because she was in time out and gave me the most stank look I had ever seen. She took that one look at me and I was so shocked and confused. I didn’t even know her and she basically hates me for no reason. I realized as I got older that it was obvious. There she was this dark skinned big lipped girl with corn rows sitting in time out and here I was this new light skinned girl with long curly hair just going to lunch. She was jealous of me and she honestly wasn’t the first. But I never thought of myself as the pretty one. Elementary school was the only time I looked at myself as “decent.”
Middle school was the worst for me. Not only was my body changing, my parents separated and I stayed with my dad, my only friend moved away, my dad wasn’t working so he couldn’t afford to buy me school clothes which I really needed because I hit a growth spurt in 7th grade. I was 5’7 in 8th grade wearing Reebok classics (they were huge) but all I could think about was if I was going to eat when I got home and if this would be the week we get our water turned back on. My life was rough in middle school but thank God we survived. Boys were the last thing on my mind.
The summer before 9th grade started my best friends gay uncle (Uncle Isaac) introduced me to makeup. He had this little powder makeup compact and he said “Ooo let me try this on you and see how it looks!” So I let him and it honestly changed my life. I had acne scars really bad and I didn’t really know how to take care of my skin so when he powdered my face my eyes opened up and I finally thought that I looked decent again. So at 14 years old I began wearing makeup and since we still moved around a lot I was constantly being “the new girl.” High school was better but not really. I was still shy but since I was getting attention from boys (finally) I no longer thought of myself as ugly. But since I was was still shy and no one knew, I was labeled as conceited. Which was HIGHLY wrong!
Going away to college was my breakout moment. Since it was my first time alone I was forced to open up and make friends and simply speak up for myself. Even though I didn’t finish college my time there still helped mold me into the woman I am today. I had to go through bad relationships and learn how to speak my mind. I had to stop being the shy girl and say the things I had always wanted to say. Since I went through the things I went through as a child and had accepted Jesus I realized that I was always going to be alright no matter what He took me through. And I know that I may not be in the most perfect place in my life now but it’s surely better than the place other people imagined me to be in. The odds were always against my sister and I growing up. Having a mother who wasn’t always around made us destined for early pregnancy and welfare. And even though my sister did get pregnant at an early age she also worked her ass off to become a nurse and beat those odds. That gave me hope. Growing up the way I did gave me an optimistic look on life. Yes I may not have my life altogether but at least I ate today lol
So here I am, 23 years old and still shy at times. Although I’ve built up more confidence over the years I’m still very awkward. I like to observe people and I can’t help it. When I was just shy I wouldn’t talk but I would always listen and I still do. I can also talk to people all day but sometimes I just want to watch other people. My constant observations haven’t always been the best quality of mine however. Mostly because with my observing comes thoughts. I feel like people should know what they’re doing wrong, not that I’m always right about people but if I think someone’s going to make a bad decision I’m going to tell them. I think my honesty makes me a better person. I would want people to be honest with me, but I have learned that everyone can not handle the honest truth.
In the end I’m satisfied with who I’ve become. I know I’m not finished evolving and I’m welcome to growth. I love being able to call myself a Mexican and a black woman. I am also thankful that we now live in a society where dark is not considered “ugly” because people ask me all the time if my mother is light skinned and I say no. My mother a beautiful dark skinned woman and she is part of the reason why I have grown to be the confident woman I am today from learning from her. She never thought of herself as “less than” because she wasn’t light. My mama is a strong black woman and so am I so be proud of who you are no matter what shade you are!
I stand with all of those around the world who marched for women’s rights and the rights of so many others! You are so amazing whether you marched along or admired from afar. We can’t stop, we must continue this fight and love one another on the way no matter what color, shade, sex, religion, or political party.