I get a lot of stares. people rushing past me somehow find a moment to give me a lingering gaze. it’s beyond me in twentyfifteen because how futuristic does that sound, right? I guess growing up it was more subtle. I was odd in a class of privileged kids but- hmm, retrospectively, I guess I stuck out. I remember my family not knowing how to deal with my hair so I’d end up with this Peter Pan jive that even the boys thought looked boyish. They’d try really hard to make it straight so that I’d fit in with the rest of the girls. slick, straight hair was coveted just as badly as tamagotchi’s or snap bracelets. So in turn I grew up hiding the natural curl of my hair. I would use gel to plaster it to my skull like a cap. Gel, right!? Fuck. I remember about 5th grade, I started making up where I was from. I’d go from Brazil to Morocco in one week. I think that’s one of the perks of being racially ambiguous. it’s easy because everyone is so unabashedly ignorant. I mean, it’s rampant; growing up being mixed was one of two things: exotic (like a fucking lemur) or shameful (like a genetic mistake). I still cringe at the word exotic. It still fucks me up. Exotic, yeah? Put me in a zoo. It’s weird when you grow up and you put together that someone can take one look at you and size you up based on the texture of your hair, the color of your eyes, the shape of your nose and (what they seem to focus on the most..) the shade of your skin. not even the color anymore but the SHADE. How white?? how brown?? how black?? how pale?? Are you auburn or sienna?? Are you white white or white beige? snap judgement (like a snap bracelet) and they reject you. They’ve made up their minds. You realize that when they look at you, what they see is unclean- dirty. I must’ve come to that conclusion around 12.. our black neighbor asked my grandmother where my father was from (he’s dead. my dad, I mean. and Arab for the record) my grandmother looked at me and looked at him and snapped back in disgust “Well he certainly wasn’t black, we’re not sure why she’s so.. exotic..” I still recall how the curious smile drained from his face into the sewer near by. I wanted to go with it, fall into the drain from the shame in the pit of my stomach but I was stuck there, constantly reminded me we were “descendants of Spaniard royalty” and how that blood could never be marred. No matter who my father was.. she pulled me away from the neighbor and I looked down at our hands as she shuffled us off. I’d never noticed how much darker I was, hands entwined- we were a caramel vanilla swirl. It all sounds so batshit to me now but I have that moment of cruel absurdity to thank. it was the little kernel that popped into a social ambush.