When I Was Young

When I was younger I was fascinated with the people on my television. I used to watch for hours on end and become so engrossed with characters it was hard to be pulled away when it was bed time or a school day. I remember being obsessed with the series Charmed and writing out the spells and doing exactly as the characters did. I remember watching Law and Order and wishing to be exactly like Olivia Benson or the District Attorney. For years I thought I wanted to go into Law while in high school and then I spoke to an actual Lawyer and realized that maybe I just liked the Law they portrayed on the television.

I went to school for teaching and frankly, I don’t think it is for me. I do try to give it my all, but sometimes it is hard. I think maybe another profession would be better, but I can never decide what I am good at. My mind skips to performances and acting easily, like my subconscious knows I could be good at it if I pushed myself and tried it out. What would the end game be however? If I were to pursue acting I probably would never get a job. Hollywood doesn’t like disabilities.

I am not the typical character – I am not the thinnest, or the most beautiful. I do not have the best hair, the straightest teeth or the most blinding smile. I am a black girl who has no idea what she wants to do with her life and I am missing an arm.

Hollywood gives the world all the things they fantasize about and I doubt anyone fantasizes about dating the one-armed black girl from the small Caribbean island who is unsure of her standing in society. Uneasy with her facial expressions and clearly still questioning why the world even exists.

I fear failure and avoid it like an addiction and while that doesn’t mean I don’t pursue varying avenues in order to go through daily activities I still ache for an acceptance that is limiting and terrifyingly unavailable.

My parents ensured I was able to wash, cook and clean for myself. I can do all of this without a full limb and I am grateful for the independence. I went through school and currently hold two degrees and I had no problem with that. Academia never proved difficult for me and I realized early that I could do the bare minimum and still pass. This made me mediocre where my search for knowledge came about in the eyes of many, but for me it was coping.

When I was younger I looked up to the superheroes and I still wait for my Hogwarts letter, my Power Rangers medallion, and my invitation to fascination. I feel like if I were pushed or if I were given one chance, I would tell the world so much and show them everything in hopes that even a ripple could be formed toward making happiness a golden currency.

I don’t want to change who I am, when was in high school I did, but after a while I realized that it made no difference to anyone because people see you how they want regardless of what you wear or look like. I almost got a prosthetic arm once, well actually I went to the doctor about it and it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars that my parents never had, and at the time attending university was more important to me than that.

I try to stay away from things that will inevitably hurt me. For example I try to stay away from black films because really I don’t need the hurt, but the need for proper and positive black representation is poignant. The need for heroes who resemble us, fight for us and win, just because of the person they are and not because it’s another slavery show is necessary. Shakespeare and contemporary Literature, art and media are allowed to pen whatever narratives they desire. They are allowed to be the heroes and the villains, the CEOs and the struggling. They are allowed to fit any role they want, because to society this is normal.

Let’s stop portraying ourselves as slaves, for we already know our history. Let’s stop seeking a savior, let’s stop praying for change and do something about it. Let’s burn shit down, might as well if they’re going to burn us anyway. Let’s mess shit up and scream at Lady Justice. Demand justice and not stop till you get it and if you don’t get it, exact revenge on their bullshit. For if they can’t represent us properly and equally, why represent us at all with their paltry attempts to placate our good will. Our ancestors that we laud never gave their lives for this swill of what is living if we have to be silent and meek and mild and ‘proper.’

When I was younger I was always fascinated by the people on television. I am ready to turn my television off.

Twenty-nine down, twenty-three to go…

Essay29

 

 

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