I remember as a young kid knowing I was different but not really “knowing” I was different.
I remember getting a job for youth, working to make schools a better place.
I remember at this job, each of us had to facilitate a meeting… to help make us leaders.
I remember being scared and shy — I was shy, uncomfortable, and fragile — not sure of myself.
I remember on my day to facilitate this meeting, my mother took me to get a brand new polo to help.
I remember standing in front of my peers… shaking, sweating, stuttering.
I remember a person I will never forget, smiling at me — and laughing every time I spoke.
I remember when it was over, being approached by that same person.
I remember the words, and his grin, and cackle —
MAN —- YOU —- AIN’T BLACK —– YOU’RE BLACK BUT YOU AIN’T —– YOU TALK WHITE, NIGGA.
I remember it —- c r u s h e d me —- I never felt so small, so alone, so unwanted, so not taken seriously.
I remember crying.
I remember feeling empty.
I remember darkness falling that day on a once bright-envisioned future.