Black Girl in the Burbs, by Mary-Alice Wise


My hair has never been naturally straight.

Blond and down my back like most of my classmates.

I had curves by the time I was in 5th grade.

I was pleasing to look at but none of the boys ever asked me to play.

I just wasn’t good enough that way.

Most definitely took a toll on my self-esteem growing up.

Let’s be real every little girl wants to be liked back by their crush.

Experience puppy love and be asked to the winter dance.

All eyes were only on me when reading a small chapter in history books about Martin Luther King and Harriet Tubman.

Like I must have known them personally.

Or maybe they were related to me?

The only thing I learned in school about black history was slavery.

And on the 1st of February the principal read the I Have A Dream speech.

But who really listens to the morning announcements anyways?

I felt like the elephant in the room on those days.

Just by hearing my classmates last names you can tell who was Polish and who was of German descent.

Mine had no significance.

But because I’m dark I must have come from Africa.

No greater sense of self pride and culture.

So I went after theirs.

Thinking I would be accepted with Abercrombie jeans and straighter hair.

Of course that didn’t make me happy because I hated who I was inside.

I still wasn’t asked to slow dance at night.

And when I went back to my neighborhood I was exiled for being too proper and dressing too white.

Whatever that meant it kept me up at night.

I didn’t fit in here or there.

I was not comfortable in my skin anywhere.

So where does a young girl go from here?

She leads a life of confusion until she can struggle through life by figuring out who she is by trial and error.

Eventually learning that some people will accept you never.

That your worth is so much more than a boy kissing you and asking you to a dance.

Learning to appreciate the hue of her skin.

And the natural kinky curl of her hair.

Realizing that all are created different.

So there is no point in trying to fit in becaus

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