Light brown, splattered with burnt yellow and my backpack hits my spine.
Scowling into the mirror I find that young woman who is always
The wrong colour. Though light-skinned, pasted with
Whitening creams. I am covered in grey patches,
Anaemic with the cramps in the pit of my stomach from too
Much food the night before.
In pain from head to toe, I am told that for my skin colour
I am strange. The light brown should say that I am subservient
And bow my head to the colonial master. I am silent.
With a streak of seeing red violence I had taken a chair
And beat my enemy senseless, I was twelve and my hands drained
Of colour. Do you like them now?
Staring at a shard of glass on the floor, reflected my yellow
Undertones back at me, shaking them freely in the springtime rain.
They said I was incorrect for their stereotypes. They expected that
If I were artistic I would be white. I am light-skinned, not brown enough
For my mother - and my peers think I’m the wrong colour.
I am trapped.
I was twenty-two and recited a poem by Wordsworth from the top
Of my head of jet-black hair, lined with red. My friend across the room,
Getting it down on a large poster-board, a older woman looked at me
With her jaw-dropped. Her white skin against the pearls made them disappear
And I thought that she was here, like others to tell me I didn’t belong here and
Yet, she simply stared
And stated she ‘never had seen’ a woman so brown do something like me.
Smiling, I breathed out and my face not showing the offence, I turned out of
The room, without a trace and without a reply, she stood with mouth open for
Each second my feet hit the bland, white floors of antique room with its
19th Century clothes. I was disgusted but not surprised.
And at twenty-five, I stare forth into the mirror wondering why my skin
Meant so much to people who did not own it. The brown lines in my face now showing
Years of wearing lightening creams, foundation that was too light for me,
But under all those masks, I was brown to the bone. Indian to the soul.
And though I too had my problems with my mind that rattles against me,
My skin is the inheritance I have earned.
I no longer need the approval of the white-skinned women
I no longer need to appraisal of the white-souled women.
I no longer require anything from them.
For I have grown into myself, and never again should I be
Silent when they seek to offend by seeing me without belief
That I may have a mind like theirs.
For art, it has no bounds,
Not a zone or time as it sheds the evils of the past
Where it once stood against me.
Western girl - brown skin - accentuated with gold.