I was given a voice & I can’t let fear be the thing to halt me & keep me from moving forward.
Fear has been a driving force in my life and has informed too many of my behavioral choices to the point that it’s ingrained in me. Fearful thoughts are the first thing I hear. With that fact echoing in my head, I still have to step forward. I won’t grow if I don’t.
And my biggest fear is being stuck. Never growing. I have to hush these voices if I want to step into the light, out of my comfort zone towards true authenticity.
There is no other option. My parents cannot speak, so I speak for them. I won’t let fear blind the path of potential any longer. Sure, I’ll always be afraid, but I won’t let that be a reason for me not to speak. I will feel that fear & go. Feel the fear & go. Go.
I had a mother. Sometimes I can’t remember her looks
To spark my brain, I look thru her bins of Polaroids and unfinished photo-books
Her smile presents flashes of times, distorted, but shared
Slender hands, big laugh and coiled dark hair
Time passes, my eyes close, and her face leaves again
In darkness, I see her nose, more distinct now than it was then.
Large, to the point of cartoonish, I know it’s only in my mind’s eye.
It’s shiny, sharp, and Latin and death-defyingly high.
My brain forgets a face, but remembers a nose that stands tall.
I’d rather have this piece of her than nothing at all.
Now, hope clings tight for memories to come.
What’s next to find? An eyebrow? A thumb?
Any reminder of her presence will satisfy me now.
Until the ache of loss is overcome by all the joy the universe will allow.
I have a mother and she has me too.
Time steals memories, but Angels can make them new.
“Hitam manis” (Indonesian for sweet black) is not a compliment. When you first hear it, it may feel like one, but after the 100th reminder that you are the “black” exception to a long-held standard ideal of beauty, it is a slap to the face. And the sting resonates long after the words are spoken.
It’s the same as hearing “oh you’re pretty for a dark skinned girl”. Sometimes it’s said like the words are a gift of light I’ve been searching for in a dark room of insecurity and uncertainty. Quite the opposite. It is not a confirmation of beauty; it feels like words urging me to hold tighter to the foundation of what I consider beautiful: An all encompassing, infinite beauty. An all-color, all-shape beauty. I am not “Hitam manis”. I will not claim something that negates someone else, my history and the history of others.
I am beautiful. Plain and simple.