I have burned myself out,
I am the bright ash without desire.
Now, only the silence endures dearly,
When I am still standing in the fire. "
I’m in an “I hate everything and everyone” kind of mood right now. I can’t smoke because then I won’t study or do anything so I’m just tense. Always tense.
at 14, i started learning how to stay float in a society that was meant to strain the strength from my veins and drown all life from my skin. i learned about what the boys do to girls like me. the boys…they call us chocolate.
they eat us, ravage us savagely. to them we are a delicacy, a treat. my mother didn’t prepare me to be a delicacy for males to lick at when they please.
so at 14, i learned that i must swat them away like flies when they come to infest, infect. at 14, i learned that there is no room for trust and no room for vulnerability, i must fight.
at 16, i’ve learned that the slight quirks in my vernacular, the way i string my words together will either set me back or eliminate me entirely. the brown tones in my skin will create wars for me and my children, the way they did for my forefathers.
my native language is tucked under my belly now, out of sight…deemed too primitive by those who who proclaim freedom but keep me confided and stifled.
the triangle between my legs is either hell or paradise, nonetheless it is not meant to be seen but exploited. other than that, i must keep silent about it. stitch it up, if i can.
at 16, i’ve learned that i am packaged with labels and an expiration date. on my skin there’s a warning that goes something like “dark skin is NOT washable (we tried) and definitely contains excessive amounts of sass, rowdiness, unhygienic rituals, and militant behavior.” and beneath the warning label stitched to my forehead, is a manual on my breasts. “how to be the black girl.” how to emulate our twang, the movement in our hips, how to adopt our “exotic” jargon. but what i never noticed was the expiration date. black girls aren’t expected to last or leave a mark on this earth, we are supposed to be disposable. disappear after we have been sucked dry.
now i’m going to spend the rest of my life vacillating between tearing that warning label off my forehead or using it as armor, a badge of honor.
i will spend the next years carefully soothing my skin when it gets scraped and battered and when the wars come, i will be covered in aloe oil, protected and ready to fight. the wars will come.