Dear Skinny Black Girl,
Ten years ago, I typed “Confessions of a Skinny Black Girl” into a Blogspot header and birthed you. I raised you, molded you until the gulf between us evaporated. Lines blurred between you, the identity on the page and me, the person living a life. Today, I can’t distinguish our truth from our shell. You from me. Me from you.
You show what it is to be loved by me. You’ve felt the desperation in my grasping fingers and the biting chill of my absence. My doting when my reflection smiles in your eyes and my resentment when I can’t bear the mirror. My desire to burn you to the ground whenever I wanted to see a new me. My promises to get right back after searching the world for clearer waters and a shinier likeness.
You know better than anyone how familiarity breeds my contempt.
Ten years later, here we are.
Would you believe me if I told you I love you?
That despite my best efforts to forget, I recall every tear you’ve absorbed in your pages? How you held me those mornings getting out of bed required Herculean effort? How you laid a foundation for a new life when my inner turmoil wiped out my outer world? The ghosts of men I loved (or maybe could’ve almost loved) you helped me chase away? Your non-judgment when I extinguished dreams my hands weren’t big enough to hold? Your forgiveness when I fell short of what I said I was all about?
You should have been more. More than my self-absorbed rambling. Unwilling to sacrifice my comfort, I ran whenever we were close enough to touch the base of a mountain top. Didn’t want the attention. Didn’t want to show up on any timetable but mine. Didn’t want to be trapped in the only thing that made me feel free. I stand in the way of everything you could be. Never all in. Never letting go.
I’m not the brilliant brander. The diligent wordsmith grinding prose out of thin air. The eloquent editorialist. The snappy culture critic. The curious, well-sourced journalist. The sensitive, bleeding poet. The jack of all social media trades.
I am but a messy human. Obsessed one minute. Neglectful the next. Needing your guidance through my mazes. Your protection from my guilt over what we’ll never be. You know this. And love me anyway.
In twisted oneness, we live on.