poetry

Shades of Gold

by Nuha Rahman
Fermont, California

I wrote this piece a really long time ago, but it’s one of my favorites and is critical to who I am today. It’s fairly straight-forward, but it‘s just about being Bengali and learning to love myself and my skin color. I didn’t really feel compelled to write about it until I realized how much I loved my skin; it was like an epiphany that I’ve been neglecting my entire life, and once I came to terms with it, I just felt so much happier. 

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Shades of Gold
the amount of time I’ve spent hiding in 
long sleeve shirts, away from the sun I somehow convinced myself it was normal 
and normal lied in the concept of porcelain skin and colored eyes 
that brown was the wrong color because why be the color of the grounds and dirt that’s stepped on everyday 
when you can be the sunlight and the heavens when you look up at the sky
but when I looked up there, I didn’t see these clouds 
but I saw a deep rooted self hate 
a fire that was eating me inside and out 
leaving me to feel worthless because 
of recessive genes
that 
blessed my brother but didn’t do me the same favor 
and that’s all I saw for years 
a reminder of a constant shadow 
but one day I looked up and I finally recognized the fact, who am I? 
to be embarrassed, to run from my true self, to deny the face of my mother and the eyes of my father 
you see it’s all been perceived wrong 
because the constant shadow was only a ray of sunlight, shining down on a perpetual glow 
one that I’ve gotten backwards all this time 
and I thought because the color of my skin wasn’t the same one
I saw in movies or tv shows 
that it was wrong 
so today the flesh that is on my body isn’t just one I wear
it’s holy, a sacred temple that I praise and love 
and I want to show everyone how many restless days I’ve spent running endless distances and laughing away in endless summers 
my skin is my history, my past, present and future 
a recording of who I am, and I would never change that

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