“If you’re black stay back,
If you’re brown stick around
If you’re yellow, you’re mellow
If you’re white you’re alright”Negro Nursery Rhyme
As early as I can remember, I’ve had two reccurring nightmares. The first involves me trying to escape a place where everyone is a vampire or blood sucking entity. I would cover my neck and pretend to be like everyone else knowing full well this was not true. I had to escape the community somehow and would eventually come to a police check point. Each time, my scarf would fall around my neck and the enemy would see me. They never killed me in the dream, but the threat of harm was imminent. Eventually I’d wake up in a cold sweat unable to sleep, watching the shadows in my room.
My second reccurring nightmare started when I began to work professionally after college. The vampire dream had decreased its frequency, only to be replaced with a dream of me failing a test … always a math test. I was about to graduate, but I’d fail the test. I’d be on the brink of success but some new requirement would arrive and I’d struggle to pass. Interestingly enough it always felt like I was in an elementary school. This dream continues even today, but only when I face a personal or professional challenge, that seems insurmountable.
These two nightmares revealed in my psyche core traumas created from my childhood exposure within our educational indoctrination systems, both external and internal, that helped to shape my identity and how I viewed my self worth. Throughout my life, I had always journaled or drew pictures describing my fears and dreams. It gave me the freedom to be myself while sharing my pain often describing my self-doubt and insecurities.
I often was told by numerous people to share my journal stories and inner musings. In fact, an alleged psychic’s comments at a social event in my early 20’s captured my attention because she had no idea just how nerdy I really was or even knowledge of my vast collection of journals, sketchbooks, and art drawings … evidence of my soul’s journey. She took my hand gently and said, “why aren’t you writing”? I couldn’t answer her at the time but I now know that I was in too much denial to share any of my journal stories with anyone. I was honest with myself, sort of, but I hid my deeper thoughts and trauma from those around me. Only a select few knew about my personal relationships with family. They listened and coached as best they could but I don’t think they fully understood my sense of abandonment.
I’m sharing “Pretty For A Black Girl” now because I’ve healed enough to be candid. After learning about family constellation theory, trauma bonding, mental health issues including narcissism, and even visiting a therapist, I’ve been able to put a name on the particular type of crazy-making abuse I experienced as a child at the hands of my family, friends, and those individuals representing the greater society.
I’ve reached the age where I care less about protecting my ego, or caring what anyone thinks about me. Pretty for A Black Girl will unveil some of the behaviors we continue to perpetuate within families that undermine and devalue young girls of color. I am hopeful that my stories will lead those who are looking for self-empowerment to love themselves unconditionally and unapologetically moving towards their divine, feminine authentic selves. But first, one has to begin with examining the past and telling the absolute truth.