Updated: Aug 7, 2021
I didn't know I was Black
until a Black man called me a 'monkey'.
Then I started to question everything
about the world I lived in.
I looked at how my skin made me different
in a predominately White city.
How my breasts made me stand out
in a male-dominated family.
As the oldest girl, it was my responsibility,
to produce the first grandchild, or great-grandchild.
So I sought meaningless sex and loveless relationships
just to spite those who put undue pressure on me
and my womb.
At least, that's what I thought I was doing.
I met a man in Paris.
Four years my elder,
with gleaming, hazel eyes and a voice that melted
in my chest.
I knew he was trouble.
The kind of trouble the films warn you against.
"Stay away," they all say,
but I didn't listen.
I wanted the danger, the excitement.
In face, craved it.
He gave me the violence in his voice,
the control in his actions,
that reminded me
There was comfort in his danger
and I couldn't help but go back to him,
time and time again
even when I promised myself
Until one day, I left.
I left Paris, I left him.
And I believed myself free.
But in London, I faced a new monster.
Actually, this monster wasn't new,
at least, not to me.
She raised me, after all.
Taught me the meaning of hatred,
And it was then that I realised
people value money,
over their own family.
And so I looked into my Mother's eyes
and saw the beast that I'd tried to suppress within me
and I was desperate
not to turn out the same.
I sought therapy.
Cut and grew my hair a thousand times over
because trauma lived there
and it wouldn't go away.
So I inked my skin as a reminder to keep on living.
A semi-colon on my wrist
to signify that my sentence
The story of my life continues,
and only I can make it worth it.
So I moved across the country
because running suited me best.
But at eight months pregnant,
I knew the running had to end.
For the first time I ran towards the pain
and confronted it head-on.
And looked at the mark on my wrist
to remind me to keep on going.
Because now there was someone else to live for,
With the same smile as mine.
The same chubby cheeks and long forehead.
And I vowed that the pain
and the anger
and the resentment
would not be passed down to him.
In the same way my Mother's was to me.
Now I see the colours of the world changing
from red and blue,
to yellow and pink.
As I find myself in spaces occupied
by other people who look like me
and share my same interests.
I hold hope for a brighter future.
Not just for myself
But for the boy who calls me "Mother".
Because I know what it is to be mothered
by someone who never meant to mother at all.
And I look at the little Black girl
who didn't know she was Black
until it became an attack.
And I hold her with me.
The same way I hold my son.
And whisper into her ear each night
words of affirmation,
And I see her smile in his.
The me that should have been.
The little Black girl who understands
that her dark skin
is a gift from the gods.
That her breasts nurtured
a life that was destined to heal her.
And that her voice has power beyond her recognition.
And I am here, with her.
She is my child too,
And I, her Mother.