Its as plain as day
This story was submitted anonymously to the How We Show Up collection as part of the July SEEQ sessions.
I struggled so long with sharing the fact that I fell in love with, and ultimately married, a woman who was not black. This has to do with my lifelong struggle for acceptance and feeling loved for who I am. But it was almost like I thought I could hide that from the world. How stupid of me. Why did I do this? Well, I think I’ve always been keenly aware of how judgmental people are, and how much pain that causes, that I’ve always tried to find ways to avoid feeling that pain at other people’s hands. So I avoided it all costs. I don’t know how much of this my wife knew or understood at first. I showed signs of almost being embarrassed to be around her in public. I am ashamed of that now. Even through two kids, I struggled to ALLOW myself to be accepted by African Americans – I was so worried they would call me traitor, or accuse me of being a sellout. Was i? I still don’t know – and, I reject the notion at the same time. And yet naively, I assumed that white people were just fine with it. How stupid. Why do we have to limit ourselves to who we love? Even as a black person, I always thought, we’re the minority and this is the melting pot, what are we afraid of? So anywho… more recently, I’ve really been confronting the prejudice and bias that my wife’s parents have towards black people in general and towards me specifically. It’s been painful. My wife and I’ve both had to accept that relationships are fracturing, and may not be repaired. But at the same time, I’ve come to realize that if I can’t be myself and honest with them (my in-laws) about how they make me feel, as a black person married to a white woman, then who am I to tell other people to be their most authentic selves? This was actually the test I needed to be honest with everyone, to embrace the love that had been given to me, the love I so wanted to share not just with my wife, but with the world. So a few months ago, I went to this conference and the speaker, Dr. Michael McAfee just spoke to my soul. He said things that enabled me to really think about who I am, who I am MEANT TO BE, and how to start closing the gap between where I am and where I want to be. He said if you want to change the story of your life, then start with yourself. And I already knew this to be true. But I had failed to live it. So that day, I decided to be my truest, most authentic self. I told the whole world – on Facebook, of course, because that’s where you go to tell the world stuff – that I didn’t care anymore what they thought about me. Because if they only wanted the me who was fake, then quite literally, they didn’t want me. And then a month later, I wrote an article for Richmond magazine, sharing publicly for the first time what a journey it was to be married to a woman who has such a different background than me – racially, religiously, geographically and culturally. It was a story of two “others” become one. And in sharing that, I was finally at peace with myself and my decision to love someone so different than me. It allowed me to see what it was like for her to love someone so different from herself. So there. It’s out there. Shocker, I’m married to a woman who isn’t black. And we’re beautiful. And our love is beautiful. And anyone – black or white – who doesn’t approve can go fuck themselves.