in elementary school, my best friend dubbed me a “reversed oreo.” i was the female product of a black man mixed with a white woman, yet by skin tone, i appeared entirely caucasian – perhaps a little on the pale side.
subsequently, half of my family is black while half are white. furthermore, my older sister, one of eight total siblings, was adopted from india. my step-mother left africa permanently for the first time only eight years ago while pregnant with my younger brother. thus, all three of my younger siblings are, in the literal sense of the term, african-american.
i am a particle within a mixing pot and this is why i call myself gray. to be clear, the shame is unrelated.
but nevermind all of that. nevermind illinois and being born here and still remaining here after twenty-six years with no plans of leaving and very little vacation time under my belt. nevermind the fact that i had very different plans growing up.
“where are you from?” a prompt once asked. i cannot stop asking, rather, “what am i from?”
for most of my life, i did everything too hard, in search of something i couldn’t pinpoint. i made a complete mess of myself. and then, i picked myself up, mostly. the search continues, but in different ways, most of the time. and sometimes, the same.
i’m from carelessness that doesn’t stem from ignorance and pushing much too hard and too often for the wrong things. i’ve been brave, bold, fierce, beautiful, weak, mean, cowardly, ugly – a complete disaster.
but when i’ve had the luxury, those few short times, of inhaling that thick salty coastal breeze, i’ve almost exploded. it’s been five or six years since i’ve smelled it. i hope that this works like a tolerance break, so that when i arrive again, i can expand into something i’ve always wanted to be but could never find.
perhaps i’ll go out orgasmically, like a bomb, whenever it is that the shore and i finally meet again. because maybe i’m from liquid, from oceans. or maybe, most likely, i’m from lighter fluid.