Letters From a Woke Woman:
I’m 31 years old and I’m just beginning to find my sexuality.
There’s not necessarily a specific age where one “finds” it, but for me it was a journey—with delays.
We know every school has their own unique set of problems.
Well, my Jr./Sr. high school was a small, private Christian school in Orange County, CA.
And just like that, with one sentence I’m sure your mind is swirling with the plethora of issues one could encounter growing up within such a culture.
Well let me give you further information for contemplation.
My small, private Christian school in Orange County, CA, was also 99% White.
6 grade levels
30+ faculty members
15 of the students were Black.
I was one of them.
Conditioned House Slave Mentality
Attending a school with an accepted climate of “White as standard,” due to a lack of people of Color, lack of education surrounding those of Color, and a tolerance of microaggressions directed at people of Color, I was unknowingly submerged beneath the depths of ignorance; the vast blue above, coating the sky with untouchable reality. I was living within an Upper/Upper Middle Class, White Conservative, Christian bubble.
I was cozy in there.
On November 4th 2016, my bubble burst and I gasped in gulps of truth as I broke the surface.
I was woke.
13th, by Ava Duvernay, was my red pill.
And once swallowed, I couldn’t ignore the signs of oppression I saw at all turns. I couldn’t dam off the thoughts that flooded my mind, as more than a decade worth of microaggressions I’d endured, circled and churned. Now these moments harbored in my past had a name.
This veil being ripped from my eyes brings me to tears even now as I pen this letter to you.
The social and curricular environment I grew up within had stolen my true self.
Subconsciously I had locked away my very soul to protect it—but there were parts of me left exposed. “Inside out Oreo,” “white-washed,” “ghetto,” “sassy,” “nigga;” from all sides these tools were used to chip away the essence of my blackness—a treasure whose value I had yet to understand.
But Smiths are strong. Smiths are stubborn. My bedrock, though exposed to the elements, remained solid and strong beneath the protective layers of deflecting humor, perfectionistic tendencies, and a raw tongue—nearly severed from the continual biting back of words.
This diary of sorts, is my own personal therapy, an exploration of freeing the parts of myself that I wasn’t allowed to explore as an adolescent.
–parts that were locked away, like my Black pride and sexuality.
Through a series of letters, I will unpack the myriad of events I’ve come to realize had an immense impact on who I am today.
A Woke Woman