I’m from the hood, hailed from the hood, but does that still make me hood if I listen to the Dixie Chicks? Perhaps not.
I’m tired of being labeled, tired of being categorized, and yes my ass may equate to the size of 4 melons conversing but I am not my ass. I’m a Ghetto Butterfly.
I lost myself when I arrived here. I’m in a sea of people stripped of their identity, people I’m supposed to identify as me; my kin because we share the same colour. However, it was my kin that stripped me of pride, took away my smile and hid it in the ground, deep beneath the earth, a little deeper than six feet under.
The boys would wave a flag and say “look at this blick gyal”.
It was written on my forehead. Forget the colonial massas, forget the hot iron on your back. This was here, front row and centre for all to see, for all the boys to laugh and chuckle in the corner at me. I used to wish I had wings to cover my eyes and wrap myself into a warmth of tenderness, reminiscent of the times I was coiled in the womb. When my mother sang songs of love, I believe those were the only times that emotions were felt between us, no barriers, no conditions, just love.
I wanted to kiss the boy that looked like me. Instead, we rustled in the bushes discovering our sexuality, discovering our innermost parts, discovering our inner most us. To me, it was an expedition with slight fear and to him, well, I’m still trying to figure it out. It’s apart of my healing, well at least that’s what I tell myself. He must’ve thought I was a slut but wait… surely he must have thought “by God, does her skin not glisten, fiery like the sun, bronze as a prize. This Nubian princess, Queen of Queens to come”. I think not.
We are living on the massa’s land, the land that was built by my mothers, mothers, mothers toil. A land that is watered by blood and Its foundation built out of fear. I vowed that I would never sleep with the enemy, but what do you do when the enemy accepts you more than your kin does. There’s a state of limbo that can leave you bent out of shape, awkward and reaching for answers that you may never receive. So, you keep your hands hanging in the air gasping for a touch that feels familiar, just waiting there, reaching towards the sky, waiting there till it touches the stars.
I must be from out of this world, cause this ghetto butterfly is otherness, the in-between, the matter that you feel but you never see.
(Illustration by Ashley Yates @Huffington Post)