A Black Girl Getting Ready

Gabrielle Oliver in 500 Words On on Sep 9, 2015

When I get up in the morning, a number of subjects cross my mind. I think about what others may think of me today, what they’ve thought of me in the past, and how they’ll think of me in the future — as a Black girl. I think the same regarding other Black girls and I wonder about the problems they face because of the bodies their souls were born into. Perhaps the reason I’m so tired and don’t want to leave my bed is because I’m so mentally and emotionally burdened by my own imagination and memories.

While I pull off my satin cap and undo my braids that had been set the night before I recall the countless times, back in grade school, when little boys and girls would laugh and pick at my hair with their fingers. I wonder how my ancestors found the time to braid their hair whilst enslaved, when I barely have enough time to braid mine as a free person.

As I gaze intently into the mirror to put on makeup, I think about my features- my skin and curves that are distinctly classified as African-American- and I remember all of the times my blackness has been fetishized by men outside of and even within my race. As my fingers smoothly apply eyeliner with a pencil I think about the innumerable cat-calls I’ve heard, I feel the hundreds of heated stares of men that have lingered too long on my body, and I wonder if I’ll hear any cat-calls or feel any heated stares today.

When I hear the loud siren of a police car, my heart skips a beat and I hold my breath thinking about the hundreds of black lives lost this year alone to police shootings and the thousands predicted to be killed by the end of December. I pause in my deciding of what outfit will attract the least amount of stares from my peers (whilst still being appropriate for 92 degree weather) and gaze out the window to see another Black girl walking down the sidewalk — the very same sidewalk where one of my friends had almost been attacked by a group of men, just last year.

My stomach sinks and all of a sudden my heart is beating fast. I’m immediately scared for every single Black girl and what she’ll have to endure today, but thankfully, my physiological reaction brings me back to reality. I sigh when I realize that I presently cannot do anything about the problems and thoughts that cloud my mind because if I do not leave my room in five minutes, there will be no more available seats left in my Sociology class.

Originally published at theodysseyonline.com on September 9, 2015.