“Are you fully black?” (A Phrase I’ve Heard too much while dating…)

So for those of you that read my first blog, you should know that I’ve had many encounters in dating, while trying to maintain my sanity. A phrase that I’ve heard all too many times was, “You’re so pretty, are you fully black?” While in my high school days, this would make me gloat; as an adult, I found it rather disturbing. As if my looks were solely based on my abilities to be something that I wasn’t. I’ve learned that most of the men who asked me this question, were not fully comfortable with their own blackness. However, in discovering my “Black Girl Magic” during my dating spree, I came to two revelations:

Staying true to yourself is one of the best things that you can ever do: If you believe in something, do NOT bend. Do NOT break. Do NOT change yourself. While dating, I would sometimes sacrifice myself to make someone else more comfortable. However, in the end, you are only cheating yourself. If you are “fully black,” “fully white, or “fully human” for Christ sake, be that! Do not adjust your hair, your morals, or your clothes for anyone.
That gut does not lie. I quickly discovered that the feeling we get of “instinct” never lies. Trust it. Follow it. Do not question it. Your gut knows who you are.

I keep on referencing when I was celibate during my self-discovery phrase: Here is what led me to that. I was “fully black” (not unapologetically yet), and I was dating this guy (Let’s just call him Harold). Harold was soooo into me that it sort of scared me, but he was fixated on my features. High cheekbones, hair (although it was not mine — but I think that he thought it was), and body. He would reference how these features and my hair made me most appealing, as if I was some sort of superhuman. We spent the evening and went to a poetry cafe. While at the cafe, I had an epiphany when I heard a poem about appropriation. I was an appropriator. I was pretending to be what he wanted (or at least I was not trying to correct his statements) .The poem resonated more with me than with him it seemed. As I lie in his bed,I felt empty. I felt like I cheated myself of being true to who I was. My gut felt unsettled.

The last straw was when he asked “Are you fully black?” I responded with “YES.” He seemed shocked like he could not believe that this species would say such a thing. Here I was, bedding this guy who did not know me. Yes, he wanted to, but he didn’t. All that he knew is what he wanted to see…we’d been dating for almost three months,and he’d convinced himself that I was of an entirely different race. He said that I was “cultured.” WTF? Too cultured to be black, maybe? So after that day, I decided that the next person that I was intimate with, would fully know me.