If I was white, when I went to parties, boys would’ve talked to me as well, not just to the white girls at my side. They wouldn’t see through me like I was invisible, and I would’ve actually been a girl to them, an option, a choice. If I was white I wouldn’t be the last choice, I might have even been the first choice every once in a while. If I was white people would’ve wanted to be my friend. Why would you be friends with a middle-eastern girl if you could be friends with a white girl?
If I was white I wouldn’t cry myself to sleep at night knowing that yet another best friend tossed me to the side because she found a better, whiter girl to replace me. If I was white maybe people would’ve smiled at me like they did the white girl next to me. If I was white, I wouldn’t sit alone. If I was white, I wouldn’t know that always, no matter what, I would always be everyone’s last choice.
If I was white, when I was six years old, Kiarra wouldn’t have told me that she didn’t like me simply because I had darker skin. If I was white, I wouldn’t have the thick middle-eastern body hair that boys would laugh at, smirk at, and I wouldn’t have been called a “wolf”, “hairy-mammoth”, or worst of all, receive the constant remark of “its hard to believe she is even a girl, with that kind of hair”. If I was white I wouldn’t have spent eight years of pain and tears getting rid of that hair. If I was white I wouldn’t have worn long sleeves at twelve years old in the hottest weather in the world, simply because I was too embarrassed to have my arm hairs showing, along with my dark skin that was scorned.
If I was white, the years of bullying and abuse wouldn’t have caused me at 16 to develop body dysmorphic disorder, which makes me to this day at 20 years old terrified to even leave my room in the morning. I wouldn’t hate myself, and secretly, in the depths of my heart, wish my parents chose to never have had me.
But strangely, absurdly, and somehow beautifully so, I like the soul that I am. I like the heart that I have, the compassion that I have, the creativity, the passion, and the kindness that I have. I like my unwavering loyalty and my bravery.
If I was white, would I still be me? I would be someone else, someone with a different life. I would still be good, and kind, but I wouldn’t be me.
My appearance is a part of who I am. Part of the whole package of Tara. I can’t have the soul without the body.
So, what do you choose to do, Tara and the few who kindly chose to read this piece?Do you choose to love yourself, for all of what you are, or do you choose to hate what you cannot control for eternity?
I’m still deciding that myself. But I find that each night I go to sleep, I hate my appearance a little bit less and respect my soul a little bit more than the last.
Because if I was white, I wouldn’t be me.
Though sometimes I truly hate to admit it, to myself most of all, I truly like myself just the way I am.