“What are you?” It’s a question I got a lot growing up, even from strangers. First of all, I’m a daughter of God and a human being, but if you must know – no, I’m not mixed. I could be a Latina; I could be Jewish; I could even be white, but I’m just a light-skinned black girl.
In school, I was usually one of two or three black kids in class. I played tennis – a historically white sport – with other black kids. My church’s youth group was quite diverse. My circles growing up and even now usually had some degree of variety, but in the back of my mind I find myself always thinking do I fit in. Sometimes white people don’t even know I’m black, and sometimes I’m not black enough for black people. I would either overcompensate to prove my blackness or downplay it to blend in.
When you’re obviously different, it can feel hard to find your place in the world, but that uniqueness is just what this world needs. I may sometimes feel like an anomaly, but I’m learning to be comfortable in my own skin. My uniqueness actually allows me to connect with many people.
At the end of the day, yes I am a black woman, but I am also a woman of faith, a creative, a thinker, an athlete, and so much more. I have to embrace every part of me to truly be myself. Even when I feel uncomfortable, I must believe that it’s okay to be me. I am learning to be authentically me with all people, in all situations. It is then that I am most free.
Have you ever felt out of place? Remember there’s only one you, and only you can be you. The world needs who you are.