“Now, I need to give a little context as to why the moment I am about to describe was a critical moment in my life. It was the year 2013. The spring semester of my junior year of high school. I was attending Forest Lake Academy at the time in Apopka, Florida. For many years I had struggled with internalized racism, which is basically racism or prejudice and discrimination towards your own people. In this particular case- black people, which, I might also add, can be common among the ‘non-woke.’ I would always tell myself, as a child, that I wanted only to marry a white man with blonde hair, blue eyes and rosy cheeks. Plot twist- this is not the case anymore. And just for your information I’m not interested in describing my personal preferences in partners, which is men.
Moving forward, on this particular Holy Sabbath day something was different. And- lucky me- I got to attend a super-ultra conservative church with my super-ultra conservative dad and be at church at 2 in the morning because ‘we love Jesus.’ So my dad, brother, and I got to church around 9:45 am for Sabbath school and all of a sudden I saw a huge bus on the parking lot that said ‘Bass Memorial Academy’ on it. Yo, it was lit! I was excited because this meant that there would be new people at my ultra-conservative church. This meant that there would be new young people at my ultra-conservative church that currently had 3 people my age. This meant there would be new young people at my ultra-conservative church who would be boys. I loved boys. I was basically boy crazy. But my father didn’t need to know that. So, yeah, ya girl was pumped.
As soon as I hit the Sabbath school classroom I started scanning, and there he was: he was a smooth dark chocolate man with the height of a prince, and given his wardrobe attire you knew he was featured on #AdventistFashion. Now I had to act cool, calm, collected, and ignore him, because at this point I didn’t have the swag that I do today. But for some reason I could not keep my eyes off this dude. I wasn’t staring, because that’s creepy, but I would glance frequently when he wasn’t looking. Super casual, you know? So, he ended up talking to me and we were cool. Church ended and he was gone, just like that. Psych! I found him on Facebook and sent him a friend request sincerely thinking nothing of it. I promise, I had no agenda, cross my heart.
And then it happened. He slid into my DMs! He was cool, I was cool, the conversation was cool. So, I asked him if he had seen any cute girls at the theme park that he was at, and do you know what he said? He said, ‘No, but I saw one in Orlando.’ So I was like, ‘Oh word? Who was it?’ He starts his lil’ description talkn’ ‘bout, ‘she had golden brown skin and pretty brown curls and blah, blah, blah.’ At this point my heart is pounding out of my chest on the other side of the computer and I started to freak out. But I had to make sure he was talking about me. So I asked if he was talking about one of my other friends who also fit that description, and he was like ‘nah.’ So then I started to ask what this girl was wearing and then he asked who I thought it was. I knew it was me, but I was too nervous to admit it. What if this dude was trying to play me?
Picture this: I’m sitting in the computer lab at school with another one of my girlfriends. She reads our conversations and blurts out, ‘He’s talking about you, stupid.’ Duh! But I couldn’t admit it, stupid! So when I turned to get something in my backpack on the floor, this girl decided to respond to the message with ‘me’ and hits enter before I could chop her stubby fingers off. I was furious and mortified! And then the dreaded moments came where the stupid conversation bubble pops up, then goes away, pops up again, and then disappears for like 10 years. Finally, boom! Out of nowhere he responds: ‘Ding, ding, correct.’ Granted, my brain was so frazzled. I couldn’t understand what was on the computer screen, until I did. Then was I relieved. And that was the moment that made me realize that my black was beautiful. It took someone else to see that beauty in me for me to begin my journey of self-love and pro-blackness. Hashtag stay woke.”