I Am Who I Am

Lyndsey - Holland, Michigan
Entered on December 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Ever since I was little I knew that there was something different about me. I couldn’t explain it, but I knew there was a difference between me and the other little girls in my kindergarten class. I can remember chasing little girls at recess, and where it is normal when little children play house, it was always different for me because I wanted to be the father. I was 16 years old when I first kissed a girl. I wasn’t shocked that I had done it, it wasn’t like I didn’t know that I was gay, it was a revelation of sorts “I was gay”. I didn’t have a problem with this but I knew that my father would. Though he is the biggest hypocrite I know, he still would not fancy me being a “lesbian”, “gay”, a “dyke” or whatever you want to call it. I was content with him not knowing while I was in high school and did not come out to him until I was a junior in college. I told him, “while you might not like it, accept it or understand it, this is who I am. You will acknowledge me as your daughter or you will lose me. Take your pick.” My father simply said, “I don’t agree but I love you none the less.” I always knew he was a smart man.

I never wanted to go to college. I was content with my life the way it was. Growing up in Memphis, TN I got used to being with my friends, growing up with them and making plans to grow old, and raise our kids in the same neighborhood. My mother and her partner had other plans for me. They wanted me to get out of my comfort zone and see the world from a different point of view. Arriving on Hope College’s campus is Holland, MI, I laughed to myself when I could count all the black people that I saw. It was easy because they were all my sisters’ friends helping me to move in. The confederate flag is still flown in the south, my father was laid off while I was in elementary school from his job because he was black, yet I’d never seen or felt as out of place as I did at Hope. At any given time I can be the only black person in my class or the whole building. Its gotten better since I was a freshman but there are still stares from little children when I’m in the post office, or the bank, or wherever they have never seen a black person besides on TV. I don’t get upset anymore, I just chalk it up to they don’t know any better and in time they’ll learn.

I love tattoos. Before I die I will probably be covered in them. There was a time in my life where I tried to stay away from the stereotype that all black people have tattoos, or that all lesbians dress like boys, and that in the South we’re just country enough to get our hometown tattooed on our wrists. Now instead of thinking that I’ve embraced the stereotype I realized that I have just found myself. I like what I like and I am who I am. I am happy with me and no one else has to be. I’m strong independent an able to take care of myself. I’m black, a lesbian, southern and tattooed. That may not work for you but it works for me. All these things make me unique and they make me who I am. They don’t define me but they don’t take away from what I have inside. I don’t know where I am going in my life, but I am enjoying getting there.