You are the girl in yellow and the yellow girl.
I see you so vividly the day you wore a yellow skirt, a yellow and white top, yellow shoes and hand band, and of course a yellow pocketbook. The sun had positioned itself perfectly in the sky. We were at the edge of spring, and summer was dancing playfully on the horizon. You felt pretty! My outfit was cute--kinda pretty. The sun was shining brightly--kinda pretty!
You loved skirts, polite smiles, pocket books, keeping the peace, nail polish, good girls, dainty shoes, friendships and dolls.
...but you gave power to the opinions of others.
It was 1986 and I was in the 9th grade at a new school. For the most part the year had gone smoothly--and you reassured "smooth sailing" by always being aware of your role. Be sure to smile Tanya. Be nice girl. Make sure you are in agreement with the masses. Remember DON'T be too confident and above all fit in.
Remember Tanya, there is comfort and security on the inside of groups and cliques.
You didn’t like to be the one on the outside and truth be told, you still don’t! You wanted to fit in.
While I don’t remember the exact details over what precipitated the event something about a boy you liked or a boy that liked you. I remember you being face to face with said boys new “love interest " and a dark skinned black girl who had become her defender. You didn’t know it then Tanya but the situation was more complex than teen romance, there was the historical issue of colorism at play, and how this dark skinned girl saw herself and how she saw you.
I recall an exchange being made--maybe you tried to explain or reason. The reasoning may appeared as vain because in moments the slap came harsh and heavy across your face. It took your pride, your voice and your ability to resolve to avoid conflict. However, it was in that moment you accepted your status of invisible and weak! You took your rightful place among the forgotten. You were the girls who people forgot to respect, protect, love and SEE!
You walked away Tanya. You didn’t defend yourself. That day, you lost you black girl card. What black girl gets slapped and doesn’t defend herself?
You took the bus home and cried.
My sweet baby girl let go of that moment and others like it that left you feeling voiceless, afraid and forgotten. Walk in your power and reclaim your voice! Your Black girl status is a birth right and not dependent upon how you react in certain situations based on some stereotypical image you've planted in your mind. YOU HAVE VALUE! Not when or because others see or say that you do, but because you are fearfully and wonderfully made. YOU HAVE POWER because you are reborn in and claimed by God. He sees you. He values you. He saw you that day and every day before and after. Every piece of your journey--even the broken and shattered pieces has purpose. Embrace being the yellow girl and the girl in all its duplicity. The reality is we need both flame and shadows, both light and darkness to really live.
Tanya girl, You are not FORGOTTEN!
So who am I? I am Tanya Fleeting. A devoted wife, mother, writer, creator, feminist, my sistas keeper and daughter of the King!