A boy I used to love once called me a Mulatto and thought it a clever compliment; patted himself on the back for fetching that word from the depths of the hood slang private school wouldn’t let him forget, and wore me like a badge; the conqueror. Thought he was weaving his way into my tapestry, tried to lace a history he didn’t understand into the scallop hems of my boxer briefs, like the lavender scented feminine wipes that EVERYONE walks passed in the pharmacy. Tried to make sense of me, give me something exotic to hold onto, like I wasn’t born with a name no one can pronounce, in a country still unlearning the burden of the language that birthed it.
A boy I loved before that, used to write about me like a kind of totem. Thought himself an artist for the way his hands rubbed my skin off onto paper, immortalizing me like some kind of inverted sunflower in still life; unmoving, unchanging, captured in a moment of his imagining; like me living was only by and for the privilege of his perception, his mighty pen. Plucked my petals down to the stem and pressed them into journals, and when I had no more sun left, no more flower, he pressed that into his journal too. A lifeless thing, that only JUST smelled faintly of summertime, if you breathed in deep enough. Muses can be tricky; he learnt quickly.
A boy I loved more recently accepted the challenge I apparently present, without consent and then ran when he realized that I am a marathon and not a sprint. Woke up one day and couldn’t carry me and my history and the insecurity of being me and then tried to make it my fault that he could no longer just put one foot in front of the other, no matter how many bicep curls he did to prove me otherwise. Blamed me for my civil war, forgetting that I am the daughter of a chapter he conveniently skipped in grade school, probably jerking off to pictures of naked white girls in a bathroom stall somewhere off in the South Building.
There’s a new boy who wants to love me, as if my sex will absolve him and his people of what they did to mine, and I say mine even though the second barrel in my last name is the same shade of privilege as his, because coffee is still bitter even after you mix the milk in. Fancies himself some kind of renegade, ahead of the curve or whatever; progressive type. He tries TOO hard to be down with it, reads too many Op Eds in ID, and doesn’t realize he’s making it a bigger deal than this needs to be. ‘Café latte’ is just another stupid way to say, not quite right, meaning not quite white, but hey, it’s all caffeine if you close your eyes.
You are making me uncomfortable. I am always uncomfortable.
I am always not quite an easy fit. Square peg, round hole is a generous way to put it, but I am not a shape, and my life is not an accelerated early learning tool on which to develop the motor skills of colorblind boys. Not a metaphor for whatever crisis point this is in your life; not a sports car or speedboat, heroin high or doctor’s note. I am not the A+ you never got in history, your curly haired, carefree dose of vitamin D, your abacus, your Van Gogh, your get out of jail free card as far as Black Lives Matter goes.
I. Am not. The one.