Featured Image: Lucxama Sylvain


Aged eleven I knew

Black was not beautiful

That my 4c coils, dark brown skin, and protruding curves

Made me too big, loud, and ugly

Not blond enough, small enough, or white enough

I was a sore thumb in a sea of white

A sidekick in some white girl’s life

Nice black girl or better sacrifice

Uphold, uplift, and hold down

They told me.

By thirteen I knew there was danger

In leggings, jeggings, tight tops,

And tiny things,

That cover up and look down

Were my sword and shield

In this unspoken war against the world

Always fighting with this heavy black back

Against the wall I built for safety

Knowing they tore you down for parts to wear

To look exotic, hip, and cool

These people speaking of strong black women.

So by seventeen I chose to be a nun

Buying clothes two sizes too big

And never acting too grown

Lest they saw that as a reason

To sample my young body like a cheap

Slice of grocery store cheese speared through

A toothpick

So by twenty-something I broke down

From the weight of being a black girl

In a white world

Always squeezing myself in places I did not belong

Putting out fires in the streets

While they danced in nightclubs unaware

I was always running from these stereotypes

Ain’t nobody taught me how to fight.

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