It’s been a minute since I’ve been in a new environment where no one knows me or really has any context for who I am. Revisiting this conundrum drags into the light a list of things about me that no one expects on account of me looking like a 12 year old little sweet (read dumb) blonde girl from Kansas.
I don’t know how to avoid people’s first impressions of me. Maybe I should make a flyer that has all of my pertinent life information in an at a glance format, just to insure that you won’t say something insensitive that is bound to piss me off beyond belief.
Things that shouldn’t have to be said, but do. Good God Damn.
An infographic was born:
So, today I came bounding into the office overjoyed at our newest acquisition: the cutest puppy on the face of the earth (no offense Meena). Naturally I had to give all of my coworkers a slide show presentation of baby doggy pictures:
“Dawwhhhh look at this one where she’s sleeping, and this one eating its food, and this one where she’s yawning and awwwwe this one with my boyfriend.”
Out pops out of this girl’s mouth. “You like black guys? Wow, I would have never guessed.”
Which maybe wouldn’t have been so offensive if she hadn’t said it as loud as possible and reminiscent of something that you would see on Maury. I just gave her an evil death stare and turned around. Because I didn’t want to have to have a poignant conversation with a co-worker at a job that I started just three days prior.
Here’ s what I wish that I would have had the composure and balls to say to you at that very moment, darling.
Why yes I like black guys and white guys and red guys and purple guys and guys from fucking Timbuktu for that matter. That black guy has a name. Julius. He’s also not just some guy that I like. He’s my life partner. He’s the father to my daughter that she hasn’t had in five years. He’s the person who gets out of bed to bring me water and fill up the humidifier right after he just started to doze off because I asked…okay whined. He’s the man who calls me as I get off of work to serenade me in his best version of Stevie Wonder. He’s the man who walks our dogs, runs to the store, rescues me when my car breaks down and melts away all of the worry, strife and sorrow in my life just by simply holding me. He is legitimately my other half. He fulfills a type of love that I had given up on being real. He is my soul mate. Yes, he is also black.
I’d be curious to know what other people’s inter-racial relationships are like. Here’s what it’s like for us. Race is a reality of both of our lives. His exponentially more so than mine. As you may guess from knowing either of us, social, political and racial current events are always on our table of discussion. We also spend a lot of time discussing how crazy different our lives were and still are. For me it’s partially wonder, amusement and disbelief at how being a black man in America today and 30 years ago has shaped so many aspect of Julius’ reality. Opposingly how being white, cute and unsupervised in seemingly safe Kansas towns (where- thank the gods- nothing bad ever happened to me) gave me a super woman complex perplexes J.
The other night I pleaded with him and quite literally drug him into some open land behind our place to take the dog for a walk after dark. He hadn’t been back there before, there weren’t any lights (though the moon light the whole desert up like a Christmas tree) and sprinkled amongst the 400,000 dollar houses were trailers. THAT’S A BIG ‘OL BLACK MEN SHOULDN’T WONDER AROUND HERE SIGN. Of which I am completely blind to. I go where ever I want. I could rob a bank and be the last person to be questioned. I’m a white girl, remember. Not my boyfriend, he was raised and rightfully so not to put himself into dangerous situations because, “boys like you wind up strung up a tree”.
Take a moment to let that sink in.
Imagine that because of the color of your skin that you can’t go on spontaneous adventures, that your mom is terrified of sending you into the boys bathroom alone as a small boy, that more often than not when you meet a white person for the first time one of their first statements to you is, “Wow, you’re a well spoken black man”.
After that night walk in the desert Julius said to me, “It’s surprising to me that you’re not more scared with all of the crazy shit that has happened to you”. It’s true, insanely crazy lifetime movie worthy things have happened to me.
My response, “All of the bad things that have ever happened to me have been by people that I knew, people I lived with”. What’s the biggest threat to little white girls, I mean women everywhere? Men we trusted.
Maybe I’m being presumptuous. Maybe the inflection in her voice wasn’t one of judgement or disapproval over me, “Liking black men“. Maybe it was something else all together. Being a black man or woman is charged with all kinds of other meaning that I find quite beautiful. Being black refers to a community connected by traditions, family and resilience. Being black ties you to a history ancient and new in which their people rallied though slaughter and segregation. To be a present day black American allows you to wear the triumph and burden of every black person who came before you. I think that’s an honor and brave.
So, yes I do like black guys. Specifically, I love my man for everything that he is, including black.