I’m done apologizing for the fact that who I am doesn't reconcile with who you imagined me to be.

When I was young you whispered, as if I couldn't hear, wondering why my muscles were so big and my afro was so short.

My body didn't look like yours, I was strong and fast and fierce.

You said I looked like a man.

I was sorry I didn't look like you, but I was never sorry for winning.

Then as you got to know me, you were still surprised by me - my brain, my wit, my words,

my wisdom. 

You said I was an Oreo cookie - black on the outside but white on the inside.

I was sorry that those things made me feel white to you, but I’m not sorry for who I am.

I’m not an Oreo cookie, but a special dark candy bar, pure and sleek and black all the way through.

But then Trump happened, and Charlottesville happened, and shit-hole countries happened, and you wondered if your Black Lives Matter pin and your Resistance Facebook group showed that you were doing enough. 

I am sorry that this is the state of the world today, but I am not sorry that you are having to acknowledge what I already knew - that this is America in 2018.

So, I’m done apologizing.

I am too old and too tired to keep making you feel better. 

I too sing America and we have to be better.

I’m not sorry that America is having to take a good hard look in the mirror about race and class and gender and misogyny and bias and patriarchy.

I’m not sorry to be raising a son and daughter who know that their mother can be strong and smart and loving and brave.

I’m not sorry that my biceps are bigger than yours.

And I’m still not sorry for winning.


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Allyson Ely