How can I be expected to pick just three memorable moments?
This is a tough writing exercise because I have so many memories, good and bad. I don’t even know how to begin sorting through them.
The first thing that comes to mind is the first time I was ever called “The N” word.
The first time a so-called friend called me “The N” word.
The first time a teacher called me “The N” word.
Then there was my first kiss at 14. It was terrible. I made out with his chin the whole time. But I still counted it as a victory because it took me months to finally wear him down and make him realize he liked me. (I was a pretty aggressive kid.) We dated for a few months but his parents didn’t approve because they were racists. So we broke up and later on he called me “The N” word.
Then there was the time I was assaulted. The sucky thing is feeling completely powerless and having other people tell you to just “let it go” and kind of low-key blame you for your own misfortune. I don’t know which was more upsetting in that situation – the actual assault or the lack of support in the aftermath.
I experienced my first real heart break in college. I’ll never forget that. It inspired me to write my first feature.
Then there was the time I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and he told me he loved me….
The first poem I ever wrote was inspired by my parents’ divorce. It was called “Alone In The Crowd” and I still have it memorized to this day.
My high school graduation – because the principal wouldn’t let me and a couple of other Black girls wear an African inspired accessory with our robes but it was OK for the other (White) kids to write silly phrases and stuff on their caps. This memory is blurry – but I do recall feeling so happy to get away from that school and that horrible racist town. If I could go back in time I would wear that accessory (like another girl defiantly did) and been like “F*ck You Principal Man!!!! F*********ck Yoooouuuuuuu!!!!”
My college graduation – because I had no friends by then. So when my mom came to support me I had no one to introduce her to. Also, my dad had refused to come for reasons I don’t entirely remember anymore.
This is way more than three memorable moments…let’s wrap this up…
I guess the most memorable moment happened in the back of a caravan. It’s not all dirty though. It was the first time I felt truly safe and loved by someone. I felt, at the moment, that I’d met my soul mate. It was also the scariest moment of my life because it meant I would have to really let someone in.
On the surface, these memories could easily be categorized as “good” and “bad.” But the way they live in my head is more linear. Everything happens for a reason. And so from the first time I was called “The N” word to my first kiss to my first heartache all the way up to the top of the Eiffel Tower – these are experiences that shaped who I am today.
Therefore they can’t be good or bad memories or experiences. They just are. They happened.
(Think I may have failed this writing exercise, ah well. Can’t win ’em all.)