War

But you say there is equality.

When I was little, I wanted to be white.
That’s the colour the sweet, popular girl at school was. That’s the colour the beautiful, breath-taking supermodels on the billboards. And that was the colour all the characters in my favourite tv series were. Which role models looked like me? Beyoncé is now the third woman (behind Naomi Campbell & Halle Berry) to grace the cover of Vogue in the magazine’s 123 years of publication, and people are raving as if this is iconic. That’s not iconic. That’s ridiculous. The third in 123 years. But you say there is equality.
My mother moved from France to England because she didn’t believe she, a young black woman, could get a respectable teaching job where we were. My mum forced me to read English story books, meant for an age much younger than I was yet it was still extremely difficult. She made me read every single day and I hated every minute of it. I see know that she did this so I could speak English perfectly by the time it mattered, by the time people started to assume I was illiterate, uneducated and ignorant from the colour of my skin. And even though my mum spent hours teaching me the English I am able to speak so fluently now, due to her patience and encouragement, you can still tell English is her second language. She asks me how to say certain British expressions to fit in, She asks me to proofread emails for her, out of embarrassment that she feels her English isn’t sufficient enough to be taken seriously, it sickens me that while their mastery of the English language is more than proficient, it doesn’t matter, because the rest of the world doesn’t care. But you say there is equality.

I grew up, watching the world’s understanding of my cultural heritage being reduced to the “black best friend”, being portrayed as domestic help, sassy and thugs. I grew up being asked “but, where are you really from?” as a reply to when I told them I was born in France. I grew up, being told I had to be the servant when I played families with my white friends, when I held in me the fact that when slavery was finally abolished, slaves received no apology and the slave-owners often received a minimum of £50 per slave in compensation. The slave-owners received paid compensation. But you say there is equality.
I live in a country that when a well-known television presenter says the racist n-slur, on air, he keeps his job .I live in the 21st century, where the only understanding I can get about the story behind my heritage comes from my own parents, where the only times I can see people who look like me on screen and aren’t portrayed in a degrading, racially comic, stereotypical way is on YouTube. The caricatures on television teaches us that we are brash, aggressive deficient at English and poor. But you say there is equality.
Who would want to black? In the few instances coloured people made an appearance on my television, they were always the criminals, the delinquents, the poor or had a funny accent everyone could laugh at. Obviously no way someone who wasn’t white could be educated, wealthy or even just a generally good person.

But still, you love your jazz music, your fried chicken. Please, enjoy your holidays to the Caribbean, your corn rows and Morgan Freeman.

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the prom queen is dead

the prom queen is dead
couldn’t deal with it all
so shot herself in the head

took her longer than you’d think         
to realise she hated her reflection       
in the mirror above the sink 

turns out her high school lover 
should’ve been left behind 
          instead of allowed to hover 

and that little plastic crown?
               just as fake as her friends               
albeit cheaper than her gown 

so just keep in mind                             the prom queen is dead
                    and you’ve been left behind

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the outside world

   
    
    
  

   I don’t quite have social anxiety. I don’t quite have social phobia. I think a lot of people see me as loud, confident and some maybe even think I voice my opinion too freely. That’s because when I’m passionate about a subject, I want to share that passion.

A couple of years ago, after returning from a birthday party for one of my dad’s friends, I overheard him saying to his girlfriend “yeah, we’re both quite shy.”, the we in question being him and I. I’m not sure why, but I resented this. 

I knew full well that it was true, that when I saw other kids my age I preferred to look down at my iPod or book because that’s what felt safer and that meeting new people made me so uncomfortable that it made me literally tremble. But I wanted to be outgoing and confident and funny. I knew I could be that person and I wanted to reflect that into reality but I just couldn’t transfer that version of me anywhere else but inside my head.

I had to be that person. So I changed myself. After going through a crappy time where I cried whenever someone said something the slightest bit offensive and full on fighting with people if they did something to make me angry, I just stopped.

Instead of crying, I laughed. Instead of fighting, I walked away. But then something happened. Now that I had completely disregarded my emotions, I kind of lost any for others as well. I didn’t emphasise, just got pissed off. Jesus, I was the literal definition of passive aggressive. But under all that anger and bitchiness, I was still that girl who got emotionally distressed by something as simple as meeting someone new.

If I was introduced to a new person, I’d get extremely worried that they’d think I’m awkward or weird or simply not nice to be around. That stressed me out a lot. But I forced myself to keep that inside, and smile, and talk loudly. Before I got braces, I didn’t smile with my mouth open because I was ashamed of my teeth so I used to smile really wide with my mouth closed. I did this to seem friendly and welcoming but turns out it just looked like a serial killer on crack. 

Anyway after that plan had crashed and burned, during this time I had somehow managed to accumulate a group of friends who I could actually trust and “be myself” around.

These are pretty much the only people I really talk to and confide in, although I don’t think they are even aware of that. I try to be friendly with everyone (apart from a few sworn enemies) but I don’t think that many people truly know much about me. Apart from my tight friendship group, relationships with people outside that don’t usually last long and I’m often left feeling uncomfortable about the things that person knows about me now that we’re no longer friends. When I’m close to someone, even if it’s for a short period of time, I tend to overshare (and now on this blog I guess I’m doing that on a bigger scale) which isn’t a very good idea when you don’t even truly know you own identity.

I think I have a lot to work on.

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