Being Mixed Has Its Standards.
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Being Mixed Has Its Standards.

Am I not light enough for you?

Being Mixed Has Its Standards.

I always identified as a Black woman. I never saw myself as anything else. I think my life really changed when my mother told me about my ancestry. Both my parents are Jamaican but I had learned that on my dad's side his father is Irish and Scottish and that his mother is Panamanian. I was only in 4th grade, so it didn't really change my life much. However, as I got older and older I started to question why I didn't have that lighter skin complexion like that of my father's side of the family. I questioned why my eyes weren't some beautiful color like my dad and my aunts and uncles. I questioned why my curls weren't looser. I questioned everything about my blackness. Part of me wanted some erasure, part of me wanted to be someone I wasn't. I looked at pictures of younger me, where my complexion was maybe 4-5 shades lighter than it is now. I compared my 14-year-old self to 4-year-old me. I never felt like I was ugly, but maybe if I was lighter, maybe if my eyes were lighter, my curls looser and more manageable it would bebetter?I never accepted that part of me, or I would say yea I am Jamaican, Scottish, Irish, and Panamanian, but I'd never say I was mixed. The words didn't feel comfortable rolling off my tongue, I just identified as Black and that's what it was. It wasn't until maybe my freshman year of college I really started questioning my identity and who I am as a person. I started considering is it okay if I say I'm mixed, can I call myself an Afro-Latina without offending Latinos? What is too black to be mixed? I felt like I wasn't light skin enough to fit this narrative of being mixed. I felt like there was an erasure of what it meant to be mixed. Mixed is just defined as "involving or showing a mixture of races or social classes." So why did it feel so wrong to accept that I am mixed? It's something I struggled with for a very long time in my life. The biggest reason was that I never felt light enough to claim being mixed. But also struggling with the question of how do I claim my mixed ancestry without forfeiting my Blackness? I am currently on a journey of being fluent in Spanish as an ode to my late grandmother, as well as the ability to stand firm in my Afro-Latina heritage. I'm slowly working on accepting the fact that I am a mixed woman, but being mixed doesn't make me less Black. Understanding that I owe it to no one to explain who I am and who I choose to be. Society's view doesn't threaten who I am, I define who I am for myself.

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