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4th Grade

          It was Christmas, and I got a new bike, sleek and black. A cruel thing in Kansas Winters (as they used to be at least) as the ice and snow prohibited vigorous riding. I was very much into Power Rangers and thought “Wouldn’t it be cool if my clothes matched my bike?!” So after all the presents were unwrapped, I sequestered myself in my room for a little while finding all the black clothing I could.
          A plain t-shirt, Sunday Best slacks, dress socks, and a pair of hard soled shoes were what I could make due with. Once I was as decked out as I could be I looked in the mirror pleased with the results. Less than half a minute went by, and I shrank. I had a realization:

People already look at me suspiciously like I’ve done something wrong. That’s also an assumption of people who wear all black. Wearing this would only cause more problems.

          I sighed, changed back to what I was wearing, and folded and hung everything else back where it went. Between this time and the end of the school year, my thoughts changed.

If people are going to be uncomfortable no matter what I do, I may as well be comfortable myself. Maybe if I exude calm, it will work in my favor.

          This was a major turning point in my life. It was when the realization solidified, all on my own, that I was somehow “different”. I couldn’t just “be myself” because who I was to the world was not who I knew myself to be. It is around this time that I allowed my persona to shift drastically. I allowed myself to remain more alone and in my own thoughts. It became so set that I began to actively repulse people to maintain a distance.
          It is messed up that a child of eleven years old realizes that society would, if it didn’t already, view them as a criminal. Even if I wished to speak of this to my parents it was just a feeling that I could not articulate at that age. This feeling persists, even as I write and edit these stories. There is no rallying incident in my life that I can point to and say “A-ha! RACISM!!!” Instead there is just this… Black Cloud I suppose. I have lived under it. I am used to it. And while I can now explain more completely in words, I cannot fully relay the pervasive gravity of where thoughts like these come from.