Amidst everything going on in the world, I would like to shine light on the positive. I would like to point out why I love living in Germany and how living here has helped me love and accept myself.
Growing up in Minnesota I was shamed for my natural hair, skin color, and pretty much everything that identified me as black. This made life difficult. I was always apprehensive when I wore my natural hair instead of weave. I hated summers because my skin got even darker. I just did not like being black. I even bleached my skin.
Moving to Germany changed all of that for me.
I remember the first time I wore my cute little fro in public in Germany. I remember thinking ‘why isn’t anyone looking at me?’ ‘Why is everyone being just as friendly and nice to me as usual?’ ‘Why is no one looking at my hair in a strange way?’ No one cared about me and I mean that in the best way possible. No one cared that I was wearing my fro. The correlation between natural, kinky, Afro hair and negativity seemed to be a figment of my imagination. I was treated like the average Joe and I could not have been more happy.
Last weekend a friend and I were talking about getting tan in the summer and she asked me if my skin got darker in the summer; I said yes and the conversation switched back to something we were previously discussing. I was flabbergasted. In Minnesota I would have experienced strange looks and questions about how my skin could get darker, which made this experience, with my friend extremely refreshing.
In Germany, I feel like a human. I feel like people look at me and see, me. I feel like I am not solely identified by my race. I feel loved. I feel accepted. I feel like I can be myself. I feel worthy of life.
My wonderful, amazing, talented, supportive, kind, and loving partner helped me take my weave out once. He even braided my hair once. (Super impressive for his first time!)
He has my back whether I decide to wear my fro or whether I am *feelin’ inchessssss. (see translation below) My skin color is not a factor into what makes me, me. Not only to him, but his friends, family, my co-workers, my friends (SCOOOOOT), my roommates, my therapist, and everyone else that I surround myself with in Germany.
I love this place.
I am sure Germany may have issues as well and I am not saying it is 100% free of racism, I am just saying I have not experienced any in the 3.5 years that I have lived here. Living in Germany compared to living in Minnesota is the most refreshing and relaxing experience I have had as a black women. I no longer worry about being black, I just live my life. A stark difference compared to what I felt in the states.
BLACKLIVESMATTER will always be of utmost importance to me. The event that happened in my hometown hits harder than any other. I worry about my brothers, my sisters, my black friends and their livelihood. But I am here to say that there are better days ahead – I believe that wholeheartedly.
I stand with my black community. I stand with Minnesota. I stand with the people speaking up to make a difference. I stand with the people educating themselves on topics they otherwise would not be aware of.
WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER!!
If you would like to read about my experience protesting Black Lives Matte in Berlin, click here.
*feeling inches – slang term used when someone would like to have very long weave or extensions