Tan

Alexandra - Deland, Georgia
Entered on July 26, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in tan. Ever since I was a little girl I always believed I was the color tan. Not white. Not black. But tan. I felt different from everyone else because of my parents.

My mother is Caucasian and my father is African American. No one else I knew had parents that were of a different race. I had never heard the term mixed, nor did I want to know. For some reason I never had an idea of whom I was. I thought I was tan.

Through my fourteen years of being an adolescent I have heard words that I didn’t know the meaning to until now. Like “Oreo”, “cocoa”, and mixed. Something wasn’t right about those words. I was offended that someone would call me a name instead of tan. In fact the person, who has called me by these words, is sitting to the left of me. She’s typing her very own this I believe essay.

I know she never meant to hurt me, but in a way I was flustered on what to say back. Should I defend myself? Or just leave it alone? As I stared at her, trying to think of the words to say my brain shrank to the size of a peanut. I was speechless. I was hurt. But I realized I knew I was tan.

I don’t know who I am. I define myself as tan. But shouldn’t I define myself as Lexi? At this point in my life, when you think about going to high school, I feel I should be someone more than tan. I feel I should become a person who knows who she is. I want to be Lexi. Lexi. The word sounds right, but does it fit me? Does it define who I am?

This essay that I’ve written may sound silly to a human being. This is who I am. How I define myself. Right now Im not sure who I am. Im still defining myself as tan. One day, hopefully soon, I will be able to look at myself and say “I am Lexi.” Their so many questions I have to answer before I found out who I am. The definition of Lexi, for now, is tan. It will change one day but for now I’m just plain ole tan. This I believe.