Skin Deep

By Samantha Barkley

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You see the colour of my skin draws you or it rejects you. Sometimes I
am ashamed when it’s not too light. Sometimes it’s too bland. Mostly
it’s just never quite right.

I’d like to like it. Not hide it. Insist that you accept it on me. Not
expect me to dip myself in bleach and linger in the shade. Or stand in
the sun to burn my flesh.

No matter where I go it matters. It bears my history, my ancestors.
Believe me, you do not see me but the Colour. A colour I did not
choose. I’d rather not have it.

The colour that defines me, to you. As if I were some foreign
creature. Let’s not pretend you don’t stick to your hue. They get you.
More than I do.

My colour is my inheritance or lack thereof. It is the first
impression you get of me. It is mostly what you see in my identity so
I have resided to exist as an entity of my colour.

Yet there is more to me than that, I’d love to be coated in thick
chocolate, pale vanilla or the perfect in between. But even so I would
not be satisfied. The problem remains within. Beneath the melanin.
Where my scars are revealed. Caused by the history endured by my predecessors. My mother and grandmother. From being entities in the household, in silence. To the uprising and charge towards equality.

Colour me in all colours of different shades to yours because I am not
a category but my own identity. Yes I am a female and so what? How dare you strip me from determining my own colour by putting me into a box. When we share the same
blood, teeth, bones, and brain matter even if you are a man of my same colour or a woman of a different colour.

It’s time to hoist my colour that is the perfect shade of me.

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