My hair was too wild and my skin too brown – so they said.
I wished my hair was straight and long and my eyes clear as the sea, so they’d like me. I wanted color lenses so badly so I could be pretty [too].
It was hard, not being acknowledged in so many ways.
But I knew was that I was kinda smart: I always had the best grades, and it came easy. I liked school and was interested in all sorts of things! It’s not like I had a social life anyway.
Racism was rampant, and I was called names many times at school. At home, it was more subtle, at time. I was not directly attacked; but those who looked like me were vilified; and when I experienced distress and spoke out, I was told it was “in my head”.
Over the years, somehow, things have changed, have evolved, even if we still have a lot to accomplish.
I am glad today because I have learnt to let go bitterness; I am, however, very aware of people’s behavior and understand those who don’t understand. How could they?
It takes extra effort and sympathy to “get it”.
It takes courage to walk in my shoes for at least a couple of miles.
It takes strength to accept life is not always as in the movies.
It takes humility not to judge.
©️ Daphne Mia Essiet, 2014