I Am A Mulatto Oreo

I Am A Mulatto Oreo

Navigating the world as someone whose interests are out of step with my peers has never been easy.
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One day I found a $5 independent movie in a bin at Wal-Mart that changed me in a profound way.

It has everything I love — classical music, 16th-18th-century dress and style, outstanding performances, and a compellingly moving love story at its core.

'Belle' is a retelling of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsey, a Mulatto woman who finds her place and love in the world when she comes of age.

A great deal of Dido's life mirrors mine, and she finds the love I've always dreamed of finding.

I have always felt that I'm stuck between being Black and being White.

I was born to two Black parents. My upbringing was typical for someone who was lower middle class. My childhood homes were full of roaches and spiders and centipedes. An unattentive landlord. Street violence in the nights right outside my bedroom window every night. Raggedy clothes. Little food. Limited health and beauty supplies. Continous sexual harassment and assaults from boys and men much older than me. Physical and emotional abuse. Bullying. Depending on public transportation. Lack of parental involvement and attention due to providing my brother and me with some kind of roof over our head, clothing, and food. Raised in a time of people rampantly having children out of wedlock. Low-grade education.

Then, in the summer of 1990, I received the chance of a lifetime — to audition to enter Cleveland School of the Arts. There, I discovered my love of theatre and literature. But I wasn't drawn to the same aspects of the arts as the other Black students. I loved Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Charlotte Bronte.

As a teenager, I watched shows like 90210, Melrose Place, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I loved New Kids on the Block, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, Jessica Simpson, Backstreet Boys, and NYSYNC. Then I moved on to loving Selena, Creed, Nickelback, Three Doors Down, The Goo Goo Dolls, Train, The Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Green Day, No Doubt, Marilyn Mason, and Korn. I even got into the Country Music explosion of the 90's and related to Faith Hill, The Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, and LeAnn Rimes. I absolutely love classical music and going to plays, museums, and art galleries.

Maybe, in the end, I was drawn elsewhere because it was a different world from my own.

But still, I enjoyed by the R&B singers and Hip Hop/Rap artists of the early to mid 1990's. Salt N Pepa, TLC, Destiny's Child, SWV, En Vogue, MoKenStef, Boyz II Men, BabyFace, Queen Latifa, Aaliyah, Lil Kim, Notorious BIG, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Puff Daddy, LL Cool J, Brandy, Monica, and Brownstone. My mother always played The Jackson Five, The Temptations, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince, The Supremes, Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle, and Luther Vandross music in the house when I was a child. I deeply related to movies made by the legendary Spike Lee, Waiting To Exhale, Set It Off, Boyz In The Hood, Juice, Poetic Justice, Menace II Society, and even cooky Black films like the House Party movies and Meteor Man. I loved shows like In Living Color, Living Single, 727, Amen, Good Times, The Cosby Show, A Different World, and Family Matters.

However, I was always seen as an Oreo — Black on the outside but White on the inside. I've never been able to escape this label. It feels like it's put on me as a curse in the Black community rather than all my interests be completely accepted as just who I naturally am.

Even when I went on to college, my interests segregated me from both my Black and White peers. Black students wondered why I occasionally took Black Studies courses and White students couldn't believe I loved English Literature so much to major in it. Instead of joining Sororities and Black Student Unions, I participate in Creative Writing Clubs and LGBT+ community activism clubs. I'm disconnected from everyone simply because of who I am and what I like.

I can't help what I like. I didn't choose to like Saved By The Bell and Martin. To love Charmed and Moesha. To love Clueless and Friday. To love Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes. To be fascinated by the French Revolution as well as the Harlem Renaissance.

My ultimate personal relationship goal is to achieve what Dido Lindsey did. She married a man who saw her for all that she was and loved her regardless. I want to find love(s) that respect where I've been. To support me where I'm going and to love me despite my faults, mistakes, and illnesses. I don't know if my future mates will be a White man and a Black woman, a Black man and a White woman, a White man and a White woman, a Black man and a Black woman, or a combination of the multitude of other races that live in this world, but to find true love without judgement is what I'll always seek.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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20 Rules Of A Southern Belle

It is more than just biscuits and grits.
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These unwritten rules separate the people that move to the South and were born and raised in the South. If you were born and raised in a small southern town, you either are a southern belle or hope you get to marry one. Their southern charm is hard to dislike and impossible to be taught.

1. Adults are to be answered with "Yes ma’am" and "Yes sir."

Whether it’s your parents, grandparents, or the person that checks you out at the grocery store, always say yes ma’am.

2. Always write a thank you note.

For any and everything. No gesture is too small.

3. Expect a gentleman to hold the door open and pull out your chair.

Chivalry is not dead; you just need to find the right guy.

4. All tea is sweet.

Below the Mason-Dixon Line, tea is made no other way.

5. Don’t be afraid to cook with butter.

I’ve never met a good cook that didn’t giggle a little.

6. “Coke” refers to all sodas.

Here in the south, this means all types of sodas.

7. Pearls go with anything — literally anything

And every southern belle is bound to have at least one good set.

8. "If it’s not moving, monogram it."

9. Pastels are always in fashion.

And they look good on almost everyone.

10. And so is Lilly Pulitzer.

11. Curls, curls and more curls.

The bigger the hair, the closer to Jesus.

12. If you are wearing sandals, your toenails should be done.

13. Never ever ever wear white shoes, pants, dresses, or purses after Labor Day or before Easter.

Brides are the only exception. Yes we actually do follow this rule.

14. Never leave the house without lipstick.

A little mascara and lipstick can work miracles.

15. Always wear white when you walk down the aisle.

Weddings are taken very seriously here in the South, and they should be nothing but traditional.

16. Southern weddings should always be big.

The more bridesmaids the better.

17. Saturdays in the fall are reserved for college football.

Whether you spend it tailgating in that college town or watching the big game from your living room. You can guarantee that all southerner’s eyes will be glued to the game.

18. Sunday is for Jesus and resting.

19. Learn how to take compliments curiously.

20. Have class, always.

Cover Image Credit: Daily Mail

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It's 2019, And I Can Confirm One Size Does Not Fit All, At All

I'll take feeling good over meeting your standards. Thank you.

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We live in a society where being yourself and expressing who you truly are is something that is becoming more and more accepted and is actually trendy. Left and right, people are coming forward and declaring who they are and want to be in life and there is a crowd of people there to cheer them on.

There is also always that small percent sitting in the corner, ready to throw derogatory comments and taint the self-love, respect, and acceptance that's flowing.

Every single time this happens, the internet breaks and feuds form in the comment sections. How many times does this fight have to be had before people just mind their own business? How someone looks is frankly none of your concern. Whether you think the person is too fat, too skinny, too girly, too rough, too whatever, it's none of your business.

I'm a firm believer that one should focus on their own life instead of living to tear others down. You should be more concerned with feeling good in your own body than wasting your energy trying to make people ashamed of theirs. It's not your place to comment on someone's appearance.

We should work on building up confidence and feeling good in our skin. Exercising, working on your mental health, and surrounding yourself with good energy will improve your life exponentially. DO NOT do this to achieve an aesthetic or try to look like an Instagram model. Only do it to feel good about yourself internally. What you look like on the outside should only matter to you.

I would be lying if I said I didn't fall victim to countless beautiful women who post their swimsuit photos looking like they stepped out of Vogue magazine. I would be lying if I said I didn't struggle with my own body image and have to remind myself daily that it's okay to not fit their mold. I won't lie to you. We live in a world that feels the need to comment on every inch of our skin rather than focus on more important issues. Shut off the noise and ignore the words that are given in hate. You have better things to do than focus on their negativity.

Make your own mold.

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