What Interracial Dating Taught Me

What Interracial Dating Taught Me

If a person makes you happy, then no one else's opinion matters.
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Ever since I can remember, I have always been the only African American. I went to a predominantly white private school from Pre-K to fifth grade, participated in predominantly white sports and activities, and even lived in a predominately white neighborhood. So, it became natural that I started to like guys outside of my race.

My brother who is 8 years older than I am, has always dated interracially so I never thought anything of it when I started. My parents are absolutely amazing, and are very accepting. Growing up, I was used to being around white people, so I never thought dating them would be a problem.

When I entered high school, I had an on-again, off-again boyfriend who was African American who I was madly in love with (it was just the hormones). When we finally called it quits, I started seeing this really cute guy (he was not at all African American). Not only was he cute, but he was also smart and could make me laugh, which is the best way to earn brownie points.

The first time we went out, we went for ice cream (he won brownie points for that, too). There were senior citizens there when we walked in, and I politely smiled and continued to go to the register. As we got our order and sat down, I had a really weird feeling. When I looked around, I realized that they were all looking in my direction so I assumed that there was ice cream on my face. I wiped my face so many times, I could feel my skin getting dry. Anyway, even after I wiped my face, we were still getting looks, so I then thought it was because he was talking to loud so I told him to quiet down. But we were still getting looks. I had come up with so many excuses as to why they were looking at us: a wardrobe malfunction, something in my teeth, or my hair was messed up. I checked for all of those, but it wasn’t that. When I was finishing up my ice cream, I wiped ice cream off his face with a napkin and that’s when I saw what they saw: our skin color. I automatically remembered my best friend telling me a story about her family’s disapproval of her dating interracially and I knew that’s what they were looking at. The uncomfortable feeling I had was being judged for dating interracially.

After that date, I became more aware of the places we went, and the looks we got, which made me very self-conscious and insecure. I was constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure no one was looking at us, that it made me no longer want to go out. Over time, I talked to him less and less, and soon we weren’t talking at all. It was like a cycle, I would talk to guys outside of my race and really like them, but then I became self-conscious and eventually stopped talking to them.

It took about three more cycles for me to realize that those strangers in the ice cream shop had been dictating my life and I had been letting them. I was so worried about what others were thinking that it was getting in the way of my own happiness. Although my realization was amazing and changed my life, it came a little too late, and I lost some amazing people. Even though it’s good to please others, it should never get in the way of your happiness. Interracial dating taught me that if a person makes you happy, then no one else's opinion matters.

Cover Image Credit: Contemporaryfamilies.org

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A Letter To My Best Friend's Future Husband

You're marrying me, too.
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Dear BFF's future hubby,

First of all, congratulations. You've caught one of the sweetest, most beautiful fish in the sea. But I don't need to tell you this. You already know she's a dime plus ninety-nine. Wifing her up is definitely the best decision you've ever made. Our girl (yes, she's mine too) is one of a kind. She's strong, smart and unbelievably caring. Her standards are pretty darn high, so you must be quite the man. If I had to guess, I'd say you're very tall and very handsome. You probably also dress extremely well and drive a nice car. Most importantly, though, I'm sure you're an awesome person who treats my best friend like the princess she is. Now that you two have tied the knot, there are a few things we should get straight.

You married me too.

Sorry to break it to you, but her and I are a package deal. Lucky for you, I rock so this is no biggie. You can expect daily phone calls and multiple visits throughout the week. Some of these visits may result in sleepovers, and some of these sleepovers may be in your bed. Deal with it. You'll learn to love me (almost) as much as you love her.

I'll be your go-to girl.

If you ever need advice or anything of the sort, I got you. I know this girl better than 99% of people so I'll be your main source of info until you reach my level of expertise. It's likely that I played a big part in planning out your engagement so you probably already know how good I am at this kind of stuff. If she's ever upset, call me up and I'll I'll tell you how screwed up and give and how to fix it. If you want to know how to surprise her, I'm your gal. Of course, all of this will be our little secret. You can take full credit for any of the ideas I give you.

If you hurt her, I'll cut your you-know-what off.

I know you won't, but this is something I'm kind of required to say.

I'm so glad she met you.


This is the most important thing I want you to know. I can only imagine how incredibly happy you make my best friend. She doesn't fall in love with just anybody, so I know you're special. You're the one. I can finally stop pretending to be her lesbian girlfriend when creepy guys hit on her at the bar. So thank you. Thank for making her laugh until she cries, for constantly reminding her of her effortless beauty, and for never saying "no" to the pair of shoes she wants. Thank you for proving me right all of those times I promised her there was a guy out there worth marrying.

I can't wait to meet you!

Sincerely,

Your future best friend-in-law

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To All The Boys I Loved Before

The act of getting over someone is never-ending, a constant and painful forgetting.

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i dabble in the art of illusions

pretending nothing penetrates my veil of apathy

that the people i once loved are just that: once loved, once ago

but the act of getting over someone is never-ending

a constant and painful forgetting

murdering the memory of something once held so dear

but now it means nothing at all

every boy i ever loved

has his own physical space in my head

their own colors and smells

always alive in an in-between state in my mind

after the beginning but before the end

this is how i cherish them:


i.

the first boy's color is orange and he smells like cheap cologne

there is not much else to say about him

except that young love feels so much more real when you are in it

but when it fades you are left with nothing save for

a trickle of embarrassment

and a firm decision never to repeat the same mistake

so thank you for teaching me to respect myself above everything

but fuck you for planting the first seed of wariness in my still genuine heart

and fuck you for everything that happened next


ii.

the second boy is red, vibrant and frantic, and he smelled of delicate ivory soap

everything with him was whirlwind passion

i was always crying—from happiness or frustration

when it became impossible to differentiate between the two i knew something was wrong

yet i stayed for the rapture

thinking "this is what it's like to be young and in love"

when really it was just being young and lost

and one day i woke up and the ardor had trickled to a vague interest

the fire that once crackled now coughed

and then fizzled into lethargy without any warnings

i struggled to explain to him that it wasn't him, it was me

and merely watched from the stands as he came completely undone

and that's when I realized that pain was alright

as long as it wasn't happening to me


iii.

the third boy is golden-brown, tender and inviting and he smelled of ocean shampoo and coffee

everything about him was sun-kissed: his hair, his soft skin, the warm embrace of his arms

i had grown accustomed to boys with calloused hands, hardened edges, and dark corners, as empty and cold as basements

yet he was open and bursting with light, as comfortable and intimate as a bedroom

until the dark in me had overcame his light

and his warmth dissolved into my cold: cold touches, loveless glances, spiteful words

until, at last, i snuffed out the last tendrils of his glow with my transgressions

let him cradle me in our bed while I burrowed into his chest and devoured his heart

i have regretted it ever since

we weren't compatible in most levels beyond physical

but he never deserved what i did to him and i'll always be remorseful

maybe one day things will be different but I fear his heart has hardened and it is far too late


these three boys taught me that broken people break people

and forced me to end that chain

before it was too late for me

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