Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting down in front of a group of 8th graders from my old middle school; giving them advice on what to do in their first week of high school. With a small cup of bitter hot chocolate in my hand watching them giggle and talk amongst themselves, I felt old. I am a freshman at New York University, and by many standards, I am the youngest I will ever be. But for some reason, I was having a life crisis. It’s not the life crisis that people get when they’re between 35 and 55, but it’s a life crisis of 18 … a mid-mid life crisis – a life crisis before the BIG life crisis.
It was just five years ago when I was them: waiting for my high school acceptance letter, getting excited for graduation, and still wondering if my crush liked me. It was a carefree time when I didn’t have to worry about tuition costs, how I’d pay for my next meal, or what time to get up to catch the train to school. I took it for granted, and now I feel old. There’s a void within me that I feel like I haven’t done enough before – a guilt inside of me that I could’ve done more with my time. The people in my old high school had so much more fun than I did, and while I did my homework and suffered in silence, they were going out and getting into relationships and having sex. It was lonely at times. Even my parents said that I had ‘no life’ yet according to them, in order to be successful in life, I had to work hard. Now I’m 18, and I have no stories to tell for when I am successful in life. The irony.
This is why I started a blog. I always held my tongue in middle school and high school because people would get annoyed or ignore me. I felt invisible. And that feeling of voicelessness and invisibility ends today. I identify as anonymous because my opinions and perspective in life is more important than my name. Young people are often ignored, and when we aren’t ignored we’re labeled as lazy, entitled, and materialistic. We are generalized rather than recognized, and I’d like for that idea to get squashed into the dust. As a young woman, I want my voice to be heard. It’s about time I’m seen as powerful mouthpiece to movements rather than an object to be seen, but not heard.
As a black young woman, I want to have a say in how my life goes. I am not violent. I am not on welfare. I am not ghetto. I am intelligent. I am graceful. I am iconic. My blackness is my opportunity; not my obstacle, and I refuse to let history or those in my present make me believe otherwise. Black skin doesn’t put a tape over my mouth to accept what happens to me, it’s a reason to make me shout. I will not go gently into that good night. It will never be a good night when my gender, race, and sexuality still determines how my life will be. And being me, I want to express my thoughts on everything. My jokes, my opinions, my perspective. I want it documented. I want to be heard even if it isn’t by friends or family. It’s of me, by me, and for the people.
I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.Abraham Lincoln