Accepting the Unacceptable


I remember it like it was yesterday. A cool, serene air drifted through the two-bedroom apartment that my mother and I shared. As far as I knew, it was supposed to be an ordinary, peaceful day.
The unraveling began as my mother checked my phone.
I never minded when she did that, I had nothing to hide. But this time, once she entered Instagram, her entire demeanor changed in a second. Her blank expression shifted into a frown. The look on her face scarred me.
I will never forget it.
She saw that I had liked a post from a gay star on Instagram. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but to her it was unacceptable.
My mom is an outspoken woman. She speaks her mind whenever and wherever she pleases. In that moment, she was not afraid to condemn the person sitting in front of her: her son.
She verbally attacked me – broke me down and shattered all of the confidence and faith I had gained only months before.
She criticized me. She belittled me. I flinched at the hateful insults that she spat at me.
She said that if I participated in this “lifestyle,” it would bring me to hell.
It was one day later when I realized that she had packed a bag and left. She was gone for a week, too disgusted to even look at me.
I felt broken – and I was left to pick up the fragmented pieces of my mind from my bedroom floor. As an emotional 15-year-old, the words that my mother, my best friend, verbalized to me shattered my self-esteem. I was deserted in fragments; feeling exposed, vulnerable and unwanted.
I felt broken beyond repair. I detested the person I saw in the mirror, the person that my mother believed was no longer her son.
Maybe I wasn’t her son. Maybe I was nobody. Maybe that’s why I’ll never be normal. Her judgment of me forced me to second-guess who I was.
I hated myself to the brink of depression. How could I argue with someone whose opinion mattered so much to me?
I didn’t argue. I didn’t fight back. I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t trust anyone.
For some time I struggled to glue the shards of my self-acceptance back together. This experience is just one of many times when I grappled with my identity.
Like the time when I was attacked with a slanderous racial slur on a walk home alone. The shock of that insult is what I remember the most.
I had heard about modern-day racism on the news, but I never thought it would affect me.
Because I was already struggling with my racial identity, this realization consumed me in hurt and anger.
Anger because decades after blacks were given legal rights and equality, we are still being treated terribly.
But despite all of this, I realized that even if you are cast out by everyone else, at least you will always have yourself.
When I felt destroyed inside, I would slowly take a breath, close my eyes and remind myself who I was.
I arrived at each school I attended in the last three years, the amount being four, feeling abused. It was almost impossible to be happy, knowing that I could never be the same.
My anxiety stopped me from exposing my deepest fears, it even prevented me from connecting with men. This was due to the way my mom verbally harassed me, believing that I would never be accepted and that this “lifestyle” was morally right.
Despite all of this, I entered BVH with new standards for myself, taking advantage of a new atmosphere.
I joined various clubs and sports and I participated in assemblies.
I have begun to realize that this life is mine and only mine; my future is mine as well as my past and present.
I am imperfectly perfect. I am beautiful. I am irreplaceable.
Remember who you are, where you came from, who you want to be, and where you want to go. No one can ever take that away from you.
In order to become the person I am meant to be, I needed to accept the whole me, a black feminine human being who happens to like men.
I am and will always be that.
Inspired by the dark clouded moments of my life, I continue to remind myself that I don’t need the approval of others.
I used to walk into a room full of people and wonder if they would like me. Now, I look around and wonder if I like them.