11 Oct Mixed Emotions About Being Mixed Race
This blog first appeared on my friend Patricia’s blog, Women of Colour. Thank you Patricia, for giving me the opportunity to write again and for awakening the spark and joy that only a string of words can give a literary junkie such as myself. I believe that the time has come in the Caribbean for us to start having open, honest and respectful conversations about racism, colourism and sexism. This is my 1st post on the issue with many more to come.
Thanks for reading.
When you truly love yourself you are released from the chains of trying to be someone you are not.
How many times have we heard – if you can’t love yourself, you can’t truly love anyone else? How many times have we heard we need to have self-worth and be confident? How many of us feel true self-love? Everyday? Well, certainly not me. I am ashamed to admit I was ridden with self-hatred for years. Hated the colour of my skin, hated my hair, hated my body, hated my personality – man I couldn’t say one good thing about myself. I was constantly in a place of not meeting expectations and having to constantly keep up appearances for people in my life.
I have always identified with black women since I was a child. Hell, I even thought I was black, you know especially since one drop of black means you are black too. Well the thing is when I do speak about my insecurities and my experiences, black women (not all) would tell me point blank ‘You are not one of us!” You don’t understand what we go through.”
Essentially what I have been repeatedly told is that I don’t belong. I’m certainly not Indian (they wouldn’t accept me), I can’t claim any of the other races because I don’t look like them enough and now well now I wasn’t black.
I didn’t belong. I didn’t fit in.
Added to this conundrum is the fact that I am a Guyanese living in ‘Sweet T and T”. Sigh….if I thought I had issues before, being constantly teased and ridiculed for the piece of land mass you were born on brings its own insecurities I couldn’t deal with. It was years of struggling of trying to grasp at some concept for me to hang on to in order to attach belonging and acceptance.
“It was a long, lonely, emotionally winding road but here’s what I’ve come to realize – we constantly build constructs to divide ourselves: Black, Indian, Hindu, Catholic, woman, man but here’s the real bit of information – we are all battling our issues, our inner demons and most times they are the same!”
We have all presented an image of ‘perfection’ of everything is ok to the world that we are lying to ourselves and to those closest to us. Why is it so important for us to look like we are doing everything just right when admitting to our flaws and being vulnerable is what truly promotes personal growth?
Shame and vulnerability Researcher and Storyteller, Brene Brown came across an interesting concept in her research: “Fitting in is not belonging….belonging is self acceptance.”
“It took years, therapy, lots of numbing techniques before I reached the epiphany that I was just human. Flawed. Imperfect. Yet wonderfully made.”
My goals and ambitions have not changed since I have found my new sense of self-worth, however, I know now, that I am valuable and lovable despite not achieving them. It is me in my present moment that can allow me to reach for these goals courageously.
While my goals mark my ambition, they do not define my worthiness.
Confronting my shame, being vulnerable and having an honest conversation with myself allowed for this growth to occur. Have you been honest with yourself lately?
Have a courageous day!
P.S. – Has your self-esteem ever suffered at the hands of racism, colourism or sexism? Have you learnt to love yourself from the experience or are you still struggling with self love? Please share your story in the comments below. Remember sharing is caring 🙂
All stories which are not shared in a respectful manner will be deleted.