Having your own Back

“Not gonna lie, my roommate would be proud of me for this”

It’s crazy how many times I’ve let people walk all over me. How many times I’ve let people say shit. How many times I’ve just stood there and watched it all unfold and done nothing.

A while back, I decided to never let that happen again. Of course, I broke that promise to myself a couple of times but for the most part, I stayed true to it.

It all started in 5th grade when I was just hanging out with my friends after school. We’re all just kickin it, doing 5th grade things and of course we like to joke around a lot. I’m joking around with this boy, I call him short and ugly (only because I thought he was cute) but he calls me something else. He looks around, makes sure his audience is watching and for some reason the phrase he said still echoes in my head, he says “But you’re… a nigger” Me being in 5th grade, didn’t really know what to do but I remember just standing there, looking around for someone to help me but no one did. They all watched me get on my bike and ride away. I can’t remember crying after that day, I just remember feeling confused. After that day, I wasn’t sure what to expect from anyone so I just always expected the worst. I ended up being called a lot of things like “ugly” “burnt” and just “tooooooo black” So I became desensitized to the comments. I stopped letting them bother me. Just like the word nigga. I let everyone say it. I didn’t care at all. Nigga was just a community word. That’s why during my Junior year, I let a boy ask me “What are you gonna do about it nigga?” And what did I do? Nothing. I didn’t give myself the benefit of the doubt. I didn’t push the issue that these things are wrong. I only wish I spoke up for myself more because I have the right to all of those things. It’s usually just me who speaks up against the wrong-doings of others. One of my biggest regrets was not speaking up against the gross ‘racist humor’ one of my partners had. He would always joke about black people being “apes” or being “uncivilized” and he even denounced my blackness a couple of times. It was odd to me, how I let him cloud my judgement and how I was so afraid to say something to him because the thought of losing him was so goddamn unbearable (I was pretty pathetic). But yeah, long story short I kept letting things and people do what they wanted to me. Crazy how long I let it slide.

I’m gonna give San Francisco credit for helping me become more in-touch with my blackness and I’m going to give myself credit for diving deeper into who I am. Because I love who I am. I won’t stand for people bashing my character or talking down on what I believe in. All I have is my skin on sunny days, on rainy days and on every fucking day. All I have is myself to speak up against things that are wrong and all I have is my own heart to atleast try to guide this world into a better place.

Sometimes you have to be your own hero is what I’m saying.

-A Means to an End

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