As I’ve been on this hiatus, I’ve been trying to plan on how to make a comeback. Beyonce after Blue was epic, so I’m planning on this being just as big. My last LAMPPost was back in March (or April?) and I told myself I was going to use this quarantine to really step it up and solidify my place as a writer.
That hasn’t happened.
Instead, I did what any 21 year old adult-in-training would do; eat, sleep, Netflix. It’s been a rough few months. However, there is an upside. I took a break from social media because life has been too hard to live and instead, I took a trip into who I actually am. That’s been my greatest challenge because unlike most people, I literally have no idea.
I was a closed adoption. The plan was always to give me away due to certain circumstances and I was raised in a white household with 3 other adopted boys, 2 of which are Black. What I’ve learned that has affected me deeply was the fact that I wasn’t raised around Black women, nor I was raised in a state with a large Black population. I’ve struggled my entire life to truly understand what it means to be Black in America, to be a Black woman in America, and how (hopefully) my experience has led me to exactly where I’m supposed to be, in just the right time.
People like to call me white. Or call me the whitest Black girl they ever met. Unfortunately, that’s been said to me by Black, Brown and White people. So while some people live in their perspective worlds believing whatever it is they know, I’ve been living in this weird limbo, traveling between all these worlds, trying to navigate how the hell I got here. I never felt like I was white. Sure, I watched every Britney Spears music video and tried to copy my whole persona off of Zoey 101, but back then, I didn’t see those as “White things.” I still don’t. They were just things I liked. I wasn’t really subjected to what would be considered the opposite, “Black Things.”
I knew I was Black. I saw that every day, but somehow people would label me as white regardless of my skin tone, sometimes simply due to the fact that my parents are white. I didn’t feel like people saw me as Black until Trayvon Martin was murdered. A national news story involving race and I, being one of the few Black faces in a predominantly Hispanic school in a predominantly Hispanic state, suddenly had eyes on me. Like some people genuinely realized there was a Black girl in their classroom. I genuinely realized how many prejudiced people were in mine (no cap — I had a class with a boy with a confederate flag tattooed on his calf…oof.) My societal label had been changed. I was no longer “White.” I was “Black, but not like all those other Black people. You’re like basically white,” said many a young Becky.
What did that even mean? Because if it’s referencing the stereotype of Black people being criminals, why would they suggest that being White is superior and good?
My journey of self-discovery didn’t start until I moved for college and was surrounded by a larger population of Black people. For the first time, I was around Black women that could teach me what it meant to be a Black woman. But Black girls are usually raised around other Black girls/women, they teach and learn #BlackGirlMagic to each other. Malcolm X said the most neglected person in America is the Black woman because I believe if people were to be placed on a ranking list of respected populations, Black women would be at the bottom. We have a responsibility to teach our young Black girls what the universe could have in store for them because there’s no other being that looks like us. For an 18-year old college freshman that’s never known that magic, I was caught in another label change. “The Whitest Black Girl.” Other Black women were the first people to say I was raised white. I couldn’t help but ponder a thought I’ve had before; what does that mean?
Because if it’s referencing the stereotype that all Black women are the same and we fit in a singular box, why would they suggest that I’m White and don’t fit into their box entirely?
I never wanted to question what my true identity is. I let people say whatever they wanted to say because at the end of it all, who cares what they say? Now it’s 2020, I have a feeling the moon is going to explode and the world is going to be hit by a giant space rock at any point, and on top of that, we’re in a global pandemic. Surprisingly, the one thing that doesn’t remain in quarantine is racism.
I want to say we’re reliving a period of time that we’ve already been through, but that would imply this is something that starts and stops. It’s not. It’s always been there. Maybe it’s not being broadcasted on every major news network 24/7, but that doesn’t mean it’s non-existent. I don’t know if I can change anything, but not all heroes wear capes. Or pants. Black lives matter, even after the executives stop feeling the need to capitalize on our trauma.
Since I feel that I’ve grown up in a world that doesn’t accept me as a part of the White, Black, Latinx, or Asian communities, it has become easier to recognize the design of the system…the reasons why our society operates the way it does. As someone who travels between worlds, I can say with absolute confidence that it doesn’t matter what ethnicity we are; we’re all wanting to achieve the same thing.
Peace and happiness, a sense of fulfillment.
But instead of working together to get to the goal, we split into teams and we’re playing the floor is lava with humanity. The color of our skin won’t matter when the Earth succumbs to the consequences of all of our actions.
America wants to be the best at everything and believes it’s the best at everything. Yet it’s never done the thing to truly make it the best: admit that our founders’ utilized a foundation of oppression and racism to establish our country and no matter how many bills and laws are passed towards a step in progress, it doesn’t change the fact that we built a house with rotting wood. Many are to blame for that, but they’re dead now. We aren’t. We have the power to shape the world however we want it to be, so why are we living in a world filled with hate and anger and labels that have no meaning? Labels mean nothing when we’re dead, so don’t bother to place them on us while we’re alive.
I know who I am now. I’m a person who was born with a darker skin tone than other people, but just like all people, I have a beating heart, a functioning brain and I just want to be happy. Kindness costs nothing, but it benefits everything. Hate only comes at the disadvantage of others. I don’t know when the idea of some people being human or “more human” came to be, but I do know this ideology still remains.
We’re living with our society’s previous consequences and are creating our own for the next one. I would hate to be known as “the ones who made it worse” when we could be “the ones who fixed everything.” I’d like to imagine that there could be a way for our civilization to run smoothly on ideas of love and trust and doing the right thing, but apparently that concept is too abstract because the rules of our civilization are predicated on the art of war. For this little lamp sitting alone in the corner of society’s living room, I’m appalled that they care so much about the placement of the couch or why the wifi isn’t working when they should be more concerned about the fire in the kitchen. If it reaches the stove, that’s an explosion to take us all out. And with this house having been built on that unstable foundation, we won’t be able to rebuild it. Something else will. Or won’t. Who knows? But we shouldn’t stand here and watch it burn.
When did humans stop seeing each other as one?
Did we ever?
In every religion, we find some story about the creation of man. Those are just stories, our reality is different. The first person to walk on this Earth didn’t know they were human. They saw another person and figured it out together. It’s been said that as individuals, we’ll never actually know what we look like. We believe the false information fed to us for how our appearances are to be perceived. All we have are reflections, but even that is just a mirrored image of what we believe we see. So why do we judge others? Why do we judge ourselves? The divisions that have been created around us distract from our true purpose.
There is just this life. We choose how we live it. I choose to live it with knowledge and love. I spent so long obsessed with the negatives, that it seemed impossible to find the positives — once I became honest with myself, there they were. Total honesty is the only way towards real progress and love is the only way towards peace. If I can be honest about the fact that my upbringing was not the traditional one I craved, but still managed to find love within myself anyway, maybe humanity could do the equivalent. Life isn’t meant to be lived with terror and misery. We were given this planet as a gift, and it was given to us with taking care of it and taking care of each other in mind. We are actually magic, designed to shine our light to create an even more beautiful world than the one we live in. All I can hope for now is that I live to see the day that we follow it through.
Peace, Love, and Happiness,
~ The Lamp