My skin is a cryptic shade of pale gold dug up from the center of the universe, and my hair bounces, big and blonde with dark roots growing out.
I stand 165 cm off the ground, full pink lips and strange dark eyes, long limbs and a thin stature.
My delicate hands and thin wrists paint a frail image, but my thighs are thunderous and biceps thick.
In the middle of winter, my skin has been categorized based on the lack of sunlight pouring over my body. “Armanian, Arabic, Chinese, Palestinian, Puerto Rican, White.”
Then there’s the summer, my skin darkens, and I hear–“Eurasian, Filipino, Greek, Indian, Mexican, Native American, Spanish.”
I’m neither of those, of course. I’m Dominican.
Dominican Republic is 50 shades of Black, Brown, and White. We are an entire spectrum of colors, of mixed races ever since the eradication of natives in the years after 1492, when Christopher Columbus decided to father a motherland.
My history is mixed and non-existent, written over and over, revised with streaks of white out veiled over truth. Our statues are carved out of marble to desaturate our darker leaders.
Our types of people are even worse.
Stereotypes are inescapable. My cousin sneers at my clipped, bright hair, my skinny arms and legs, how weird the color of my skin is.
“You talk White and you look Asian.”
Question marks bounce all over my face, so then I ask, “How am I supposed to talk? How am I supposed to look?”
He shrugs, standing a good 10 cm above my head. He’s been trying to build muscle, and it shows. All I see is an obnoxious attempt to live up to standards that don’t make sense.
“Just shut up,” is all he says before leaving.
I lick my lips and just scroll through my phone, thinking of the ignorance, wondering and swimming in annoyance when faced with it.
People can’t justify their micro aggressions with sound answers. I breathe.
I’m me, I’m me, I’m me. I don’t need to prove my pride. I don’t measure my self-worth.
I’m me, I’m me, I’m me.