Black and White
My origins combine both Turkish and Egyptian lineage:
Thus, I’ve experienced being both black and white.
Black in Summer when, on the beach, the scorching sun
Is intent on barbecuing everyone on sight, especially me!
White, as winter’s cold weather fades every trace of tan;
Black, during the long and leisurely vacation by the sea;
White, when sitting in the classroom during the school year;
I accepted myself as I was: either pallid or sunburned
To the extreme, I resented being labeled according
To the seasons, and to the onlooker’s preferences:
Briefly, I was praised while white, and blamed while black;
My family who was supposed to accept me as I was,
Disapproved of my looks: instead, they admired
Blue eyes and blond hair, while I was always shunned,
And spurned; I convinced myself that I simply was not one
Of the beautiful people; I ended up considering myself
A failure, since I did not succeed in pleasing others.
“Don’t believe anyone who tells you you’re beautiful!”
I took their advice to the letter, rejecting compliments,
And disregarding any flattering remarks on my looks...
© Djehane Hassouna, 2005
Rainbow of Emotions, page 4