When I was learning to read, my mom would curl up with me every night to recite a book. As my tired eyes scanned each line, I attached words on the page to sounds spoken, enraptured with it all.
It wasn’t taking my fifth “Am I Gay?” quiz. It wasn’t being disappointed when I would get “You Are Straight!” as a result. It wasn’t my constantly looking up “lesbian love stories.” It was a Reddit thread, and the compulsory heterosexuality master doc I found there, that made me say “oh shit.”
When my mom was a kid, a white boy had a crush on her. So, the KKK set a cross on fire in her aunt’s front yard. A white boy couldn’t like a brown girl. And although this piece is more about me and my experiences, my mom sets everything up. I am her carbon copy.
You love riding
with the windows down.
I hated it.
But then I rode
with them down
and I understood.
Coming back from a place you once had said
was the “scenic route.”
Now it’s really more my route than yours:
I have a confession to make: lately, I’ve been struggling to keep myself together. I miss deadlines, forget to text people back. Turn things in exactly at 11:59pm. Call it the mid-semester reckoning, or midterm season, or simply being burnt out, but I (and I’m sure many of you) do not know how to manage it lately.
Eyes draw me in and allow me to more fully understand others. At UVA, eyes have allowed me to make new friends, distance myself from bad influences, and comfort broken hearts. My gray-scale drawing, done with graphite pencils, allows everyone, regardless of race or gender, to relate.