Refusal

When you are rendered invisible,

you either accept erasure,

or you refuse to disappear.

I refuse to disappear.

There are many who cannot see me as I am

because they cannot make sense of who I am.

So many who cannot reconcile that I am:

a native speaker of two languages,

a citizen of three countries,

multiethnic and

the brown-skinned, biological mother of a son presumed to be white.

I will not legitimize my personhood, however.

I am legitimate as I am.

The confusion others may feel about me is a reflection of them.

It is not a reflection of me.

The complexity of my existence,

the very unlikelihood of it,

has been an advantage.

As a native English and Spanish speaker I understand deeply

how differently we conceptualize the world,

and ourselves

depending on the very words we use.

I call more than one corner of the earth home.

As a result, I feel kinship with a wide variety of individuals.

I descend from:

Eastern Europeans,

Southern Europeans,

West Africans,

East Asians and

Native South Americans.

People who spoke different languages,

observed different traditions and

possessed different physical traits,

all contributed to my existence.

I have always known that the superficiality of physical difference

amongst human beings

does not indicate who we are,

or to whom we belong.

When you are rendered invisible,

you either accept erasure,

or you refuse to disappear.

I refuse to disappear.

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Naomi Raquel

Naomi Raquel

148 Followers

Bilingual. New Yorker. Multiethnic. Change Agent. Author of “Strength of Soul” (2Leaf Press; University of Chicago Press, April 2019)