What age?

Published August 14, 2013 by hrhdana

I am the
light skin in the winter
mother of a
beautiful, brown girl.
She is gorgeous
inside and out.
Whenever people see her
out and about
Oohs and Ahhs follow us
people will shout,
“I love her. She looks like
a perfect little doll.
Her hair?! I love it!
Little angel girl.”
White people especially
on her complexion
compelled to speak,
“Her skin tone is lovely”

I murmur thanks yous
my heart swells
for this little girl I love so well.

Then
I start to think.

At what age will her
sun kissed skin
and natural hair
make her
the un-welcomed recipient
of their
disdain?
At what age?

At what age
will the universality
of people smiling at her on the street
stop?
At what age
will she be encumbered
with every stereotype?
At what age?

Because it will happen
does happen
and denial doesn’t make it untrue.
Why can’t we
humanity
continue to see
each other as beautiful little babies
forever?

I’m dreaming.
I know.
Whatever!

At what age
will it all change?
As her Mom
I will and won’t be
ready
forever.

4 comments on “What age?

  • i gotta say i wasn’t sure at the start where the piece was going…and when i read “make her
    the un-welcomed recipient
    of their
    disdain?”

    my heart broke. just dropped. i physically felt my shoulders slump.
    because…you’re right.
    in that space of a stanza i considered the other commuters who carry those hits and hurts. the first time they were told they can’t be superman for the party…because superman wasn’t puerto rican.
    the first time they REALIZED…it was a skin color thing.
    the first time my kid was told ‘but she’s not really your mom right??? you’re so light!’
    the first time i heard a friend say people always tell her how pretty she is ‘…to be so dark.’

    it is heartwrenchingly accurate, this piece. that’s a bad thing isn’t it??

    • Thank you so much for feeling. I never write for other people. I always write for me but when this piece was done I wanted to share it and I actually CARE about how it’s received. This is a vulnerable and very new place for me. I exhaled when I read your comment. Didn’t even know I’d been holding my breath. Thank you

      It is a bad thing…the truth can hurt more than any lie.

  • I sit here with tears welling up in my eyes. In the depths of my soul. I truly do hurt for you..I am at a loss for words on the piece. I wish you didn’t have to go through it mama.. I WISH!

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