I am mixed African American and Belgian. I went to a predominantly white school and as far as I can remember was always conscious of the fact that I was different from the other kids. I grew up in the 90’s in a very small Belgian town where diversity was close to non existent. I remember my mom picking me and my little sister up from school, the stares, the comments and questions. “Are you adopted?”, “Why is your mom white?” “Why is your skin brown?” and the list goes on. Luckily enough my parents raised us to know how beautiful and special we both were.
The toughest part for me was when I reached middle school. This was a very difficult time as I always had the constant feeling of not fitting in. I was the only mixed race girl of my school which made me stand out and drew all types of attention, the main attraction being my Hair, I heard it all “poodle”, “is that a wig?”, “why is your hair so poofy”. All these comments made me even more aware of how different I was and also made me very insecure with myself. I remember being ashamed of wearing my natural hair down and only feeling comfortable when it was up and secured in a bun. This led on to years of relaxing and straightening my hair.
I started to embrace my natural hair and let go of my insecurities in my earlier 20’s. I came to realize that I was beautiful just the way I was. I stopped being so selfconscience and was able to fully embrace my heritage. I am proud of being of mixed race, it is a blessing and a beautiful thing and this is the message that I will pass on to my kids.