In my life, I have dated men from all walks, nationalities, languages, and accents, while travelling and in my own cosmopolitan city, Toronto. I’m attracted to kind souls and articulate men with good heads on their shoulders, and that can come in any package. I have met and fallen in love with some amazing people, but along the way I have also encountered more than my fair share of jerks. While reflecting on those issues, one overarching theme has been race. While I would like to think that my charming personality, winning smile, and witty intellect is what first captured their attention, the truth is the colour of my skin was the real magnet in most instances, consciously or subconsciously.
I regularly get comments about how silky my “dark skin” is, or how I look great even though I’m not “light”—or “you look so exotic.” Shudder. Even if a man doesn’t see my skin colour, those around us likely do. Some have even vocalized it by saying, “He must have ‘jungle fever.'”
This is a sensitive topic for me, because while I try to forget, the sad reality is that in my professional life I have had to fight tooth and nail to be where I am today. I’m routinely the only minority, let alone black person, at work, meetings, and events locally and abroad. Everything I have today at twenty-eight years old, I have earned—but at the end of the day I’m still reduced to being “Rihanna” at the office. She’s wonderful, but I’m my own woman.
I wish I worked in a pitch-black world, where when I’m hired or do well it isn’t attributed to affirmative action, and when I become emotional, I’m not called “the angry black woman.”
That’s why I want to be able to just be myself, unapologetically, in my romantic and my social life—where men choose to date me because there is a spark, undeniable raw chemistry, not for “variety” or to find out if we “really are freaks in bed.”
I’m over being the token girl to give street credibility—the next notch in a man’s belt.
I’m a teacher. Coach. Friend. Lover. Singer. Painter. Fashionista. Strong. Independent.
I want you to see me with your heart, your soul. Connect on all levels.
Being black in North America is truly a daily struggle, and being single only compounds it.
If I were reincarnated, I would like to come back in the same form because I believe our struggles make us stronger. I’m proud to be African. I just happen to live in a world where we enjoy arbitrarily compartmentalizing. In the eyes of some, I’m too black, and for others, not black enough. I’m either too bougie (entitled) or not hood enough.
I can only be one thing and that’s me.
Love me for me.
[Photo credit to Coco]
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