I’m an Oreo.

Oreos.

Those delicious, chocolate flavored cookies you coveted during elementary school. You’d scream and kick at your mother’s shins as she pushed the shopping cart that confined you past their blue and white packing in the corner market; you demanding to her to purchase them or else. Or you as discovered during your all-men-deserve-to-die-and-I-want-to-rip-out-my-uterus collegiate years that peanut butter and Oreos taste bomb together and they soon become the staple of your diet. Twisting away one side of the treat, you devoured their creamy goodness, leaving a sticky mess on your fingertips. Yum.

Black on the outside but white in the middle.Oreos didn’t always signify pleasure to my taste buds. There was a time in my life where I hated oreos. Even hearing the word caused my face to flush and tears to fall down my cheeks. I remember the first time someone directed the word to me as I walked to my locker to put away my math book. Donning all my noir outfit (complete with a black sweatshirt, shoes and skinny jeans before they become trendy), a kid from the basketball team muttered the word under his breath and directed his gaze to me. I shrugged my shoulders as if I didn’t care. I was called names before; ‘geek‘ and ‘loser‘ were a daily given, ‘doll face’ for the crazy amount of eyeliner and red lipstick I wore. Before the water works emerged from my eye sockets, I ran to the bathroom and cried.

Dark skin but acts Caucasian.

I wasn’t even sure how to ‘act white.’ How do you act a color? Okay, I was one of the dark-skinned kids in my honors classes. I could swim (so well, in fact, that my nickname growing up was ’mermaid’). Being the vocabulary freak that I still am, I refused to mispronounce words, enunciating and articulating them with vigor, and spelled things out completely. I spent hours straightening my unruly curls, hair that black women told me they would kill to have. I didn’t listen to rap or any kind of R&B (unless you counted the Madonna albums me and my mom privately jammed out to). Winter is my favorite season. I refused to go out on Friday nights to drink 40s with cronies from class (I didn’t drink until university, in fact). I didn’t own an gold bling or K-Swiss sneakers. My behind is, in fact, on the smaller side  And I, for sure, never watched B.E.T. It didn’t matter that I was a mixed kid with my father being Jamaican and my mother, as green-eyed Puerto Rican. I was a black girl who was simply confused, so I needed to be treated like I was a character in a Tyler Perry movie.

Ethic slang was thrown around in school and I found it fascinating that we were all labeled after food: Crackers, twinkies, beaners. High school is a tough time for everyone. Between figuring out college plans to the race of hormones flying through one’s body, those prime teenage years were exhausting. In some small way or another, we all were lost and confused. I couldn’t identify with the kids around me who were so influenced by hip-hop culture. Despite going to a school with an equal race population, I didn’t have any black friends. Their baggy clothes and boisterous voices were a turn off. Shy little me didn’t want to be friends with that loudmouth in the back of classroom who had a comment about everything. I was the nerd who spent her lunch in the journalism lab, correcting the monthly school paper. What did I have in common with the popular track star in the short skirt?

So, maybe I thought I was white with insanely tan skin.

It took many years to embrace this personality quirk of mine and I try my best not to let this label define me Even now, ten years later after high school, I still find myself labeled as that cookie. I’m the only person of color at my favorite band’s concert. I get weird looks when I hold the hand of a white guy as I walk down the block. I still can’t find a pair of skinny jeans to squeeze my heavy thighs in. Yet instead of finding a dark corner of my soul to hide and weep in, I learned to love this trait and embrace it. When I tell my story, the listeners are surprised to hear that the kids that taunted me were black. It took sometime to forgive those who teased me. Once my brain finally realized that these people were just perhaps jealous or having their own issues at home, my heart softened and opened up to the possibility of having people of multiple ethnicities enter it. One of my best friends is Mexican. I live with a Pilipino girl. I date any man, as long as he breathes. Despite my shock that today’s society is still pretty racist, I don’t let the race card play a major role in my life. Everyone is treated equal in my eyes and I hope that I am considered the same to them. My hope is that one day, no one will be called such names, especially during fragile times like high school. Those people should more concerned finding a date to the senior prom.

Yeah, I’m an Oreo. I guess that means I’m pretty tasty.

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