Bobbi Brown Labels & Our Identity

       Porcelain Make upI grew up trying on my sister's "porcelain" colored makeup, however quickly learned that society would not accept this form of self expression and sisterly love. Bobbi Brown and Cover Girl informed me that my skin color is "Warm Walnut." Apparently my mom was beige, my other sister's were deep mocha, caramel and ivory.  I had always dreamt the moment I met my birth family that I'd feel an immediate sense of peace and belonging. But, I didn't. Although surreal to be surrounded by a family of "Warm Walnuts" for the very first time in my life, I also realized how much I fit in with my multi-sectioned makeup toned family. It was a difficult realization to admit that I feel more comfortable and at home next to the beiges, deep mochas and the ivory's alike.   Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 6.31.03 PM

Although I know that my skin tone is not porcelain, I cannot consider myself a true Warm Walnut either. Identity is not simply a counting of melanin, or a kitschy name via a marketing scheme, but rather it's how we've come to assimilate and own the labels others have assigned us. I am not just a hearing aid-wearer, or a "hard to place" foster child. I don't wear my afro to make a statement in a predominantly white environment, and will not heed to Bobbi Brown's labels to help shape my sense of self.

**This short post is written out of a bit of frustration as I was recently asked if I was "single handedly attempting to gentrify" the neighborhood in which I live. Ouch!***

What I would say...

Ms. Deborah,

I'm hoping that somehow this letter makes it's way into your hands. There are some things I have always wanted to say to you:

I think the World of you.

I admire your ability to go through with an undesired preganancy, especially without any help, doctors, books or guidance. I am amazed by your courage and foresight in knowing that keeping your pregnancy  a secret was the best choice for yourself, and for me. I want to thank you for thinking ahead enough to find an adoption agency to place me in a home. I don't know as many people who are as selfeless as you who have the strength to carry a baby to term, walk in to the hospital alone and in labor, and walk out of the hospital alone and empty-handed. 

I wanted to apologize for showing up at your doorstep so unexpectedly last month, I can only imagine how completely overwhelmed  you must've felt.  I can imagine that my suprise visit opened up a very deep wound of intensely painful feelings, feelings that had been buried for 24 years. I never meant for you to have to retrieve the painful memories. I hope that you never felt ashamed for having given me up for adoption.  Your strength and courage to give me up  has provided me with more opporrtunities than you'll ever know. 

 Since I sought you out, I had the advantage of working through some of my feelings prior to the day that I showed up at your door in Tennessee. I cannot imagine what it must've felt like to be on the other side of the equation. I know that my raw emotions were overpowering when I looked at you for the first time. I'd venture to guess that your emotions were 10 times stronger than mine, I guess this may have been why you denied knowing who I was and asked me to leave. I understand.

Just wanted to let you know that I am doing fine. I am happily married, enjoying all that life throws my way. I live in Seattle, Washington and my home is open to you anytime - I'd love to get to know you more.  


Your birthdaughter

     -oh, and by the way, my name is Angela.