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Growing Up Biracial Wasn’t A Fairytale

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My name is Alexis Watson. I am biracial. My mom is white and my father is black. My father left when I was very young and my mother and her family raised me. Growing up I had a lot of insecurities. I remember playing on the playground when I was about 5 or 6 and one of my friends asked me “What are you?” That was the first time I felt different. I felt like somehow I was less of a person. I felt like a mutt surrounded by purebreds.

It’s really hard looking black and growing up with only white people.

I have always felt love from my family and I knew that they loved me, but for some reason in the back of my head I couldn’t get over the fact that I wasn’t the same. I remember going to the pool with my cousins and feeling bad about my hair getting all tangled up. I wanted so badly to just be white.

In my middle school years I remember having a hard time making friends. I had that feeling that many biracial people feel, that feeling of being too white for the black people and too black for the white people. It gets lonely. I felt like I was constantly trying to change myself depending on the people I was around. I didn’t know who I was. I just knew that whoever I was, I didn’t like myself. I had only a few friends and I was bullied all the time. Middle school was definitely a really dark time for me.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to make it sound like I had an awful childhood, because I didn’t. I was a happy child when I was at home with my mom and grandparents. I remember my great grandmother, who was my very best friend, telling me that I had the best of both worlds and I was lucky because I had a permanent, sun kissed tan.  It was just when I was at school, or in large groups of people that I had a hard time, or where I felt the most judged.

The first 9 years of schooling were spent feeling really inferior and going into high school I was determined to change that. Instead of hiding and falling behind, like I did in middle school, I forced myself to stand out. I joined a lot of clubs. I took as many honors classes as I could. I did theatre. I tried to make everyone realize that I was worth something. I thought that, maybe, if everyone saw how amazing I could be, I would feel better about myself. I loved high school. I felt important in high school. However, it was all really faked. I had a false sense of importance.

It wasn’t until recently that I was able to totally accept and love myself for the person that I truly am. I realized that I needed to stop trying to fit in and to just be myself. When you can truly be yourself, that’s when you can make better friendships and feel accepted and it starts a cycle of love in your life. What changed for me was that I finally realized that I don’t have to choose whether I want to be black or white. I can be both. I felt like, for the longest time, I had to either conform to a black stereotype or a white stereotype, and that’s just silly. I can be a Republican who listens to Rap music if I want to. I can dress however I want to. I can do whatever I want with my hair. I don’t have to be one or the either.

I am finally at place where I love being biracial. I love being a part of both white culture and black culture and the culture that is a combination of the two. I am finally at a place where I love the color of my skin; I love the way I look. I am finally at a place where I am happy with who I am.

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