I just felt like I had to be real because life happens and I sometimes suck at dealing with it, and I love airing my business out anyway. This past year, almost to the date, my life was shifting faster than I could handle. I had just gotten back from Haiti, and that trip honestly left me broken. I was angry at God and confused at what the hell I was doing with my life. I looked for answers in my church community but learned to hide my pain by pouring all I had into the local church. However, my bitterness for the church began to grow, and I isolated myself and felt like I lost all my “church identity” when I stepped back from what I’ve known my whole life.
My family was crazy as any family is, but I didn’t have the emotional capacity to deal with the drama and lashed out more than what I’m proud of. It wasn’t until the panic attacks came that I knew I was in trouble. The long nights, the nightmares, and the chest pain were suddenly part of my life. But that wasn’t my breaking point. Not until a month ago, when I couldn’t pep talk myself out of my sadness, I couldn’t pray away what was plaguing me, and I couldn’t find that Bible passage to flood me with peace; did I finally take my mom’s advice to go see a therapist.
I remember the night before beating myself up because maybe I wasn’t trusting God enough, or I was less of a woman because of my inability to handle emotional stress healthily. BUT surprisingly, therapy has been a Godsend in more ways than one. I’m still a mess, but a mess that is seeking help and can’t lie anymore that I have it all together and that I read my Bible and pray all the time. Cause I don’t. There is a stigma around mental health that makes me scared even to post this, and I’ve gotten some backlash for even admitting that I’m even seeing a therapist. All I can say is Jesus knew I needed a little extra help and therapy will only help me grow into the healthy young woman I’m called to be.
My whole life I’ve been told that I should be a white girl or for a black girl I act “too white.” In a way I’ve been conditioned to just laugh it off and ignore people’s ignorance. But recently a question that has caught my attention is “what are you?”
First of all, the question is degrading. I know the person who asked didn’t mean to make it sound rude, but to me it implied that I was somewhat less than because they didn’t know what category to stick me in. My conditioned response was that I was black, but they wouldn’t take that as an answer. They then started peppering me with questions: “No, you aren’t mixed with something?” “How is your hair that way? Black people hair isn’t like that.” “Why do you talk like a white person?”
At this point I found myself shutting down. These people were relentless. I mean children are dying all over the world and your main concern is if I’m black enough to be black. It’s insane. Anyway, I honestly don’t even remember how the conversation ended but I remembered how it began.
What are you, anyway?
What am I? Well, I am a black young woman. My mother is mixed and my father is black, but that doesn’t mean I’m less black than the next black woman. My hair lays a certain way, but that doesn’t mean that my hair is any better than the black woman with supposedly “bad hair.” I speak well and I even have a hint of a country accent, but that doesn’t mean I’m not black because I “talk white.”
Besides all the things I just listed, I am Bayli. No matter what color I happen to by mixed with; I am human. I am a child of the Most High God. I have special gifts and talents that God has blessed me with to bring glory to Him. I am a successful young adult. I have potential to do great things on this earth. I can make decisions, and I’m wise enough to ask when I don’t understand or when I need counsel. I have hopes, dreams, plans, and I know I will fulfill each one of them by God’s grace.
That is what I am. Who I am. What I have been made to be.
I am not the black girl who talks white. I am not to the black girl mixed with some white. I am neither dark-skinned or light-skinned. I am no better than the girl who’s fully black and I am no less than the girl who is fully white.