I moved to Dallas midway through my freshman year. I was fully embraced by beautiful, brilliant black girls, sweet, sensitive black boys and pasty passionate theatre nerds. This was where theatre draped my shoulders and pulled me close. This was where I learned that I didn't need to be rock solid. I could be liquid and pour myself into many cups. I could simply be. I threw myself into the every extracurricular program I could. I was going to take full advantage of them good White dollars. I was going to be exceptional. I was exceptional. Enter the TAAS test.
Like most standardized tests, this test was less a meter of my knowledge and more a measure of my anxiety. Ever since Memphis, I was convinced I was a true moron. Math proved my most difficult subject so I already knew that I would fail. I already knew that this test would brand my chest with a Scarlet F. I knew my cover would be blown. I was correct. I had to take the math portion 4 times. Each time I would study and each time I would convince myself that I had it in the bag. You'll pass this time and everyone will know you're smart and you know you're gonna fail and then everyone will be right and I don't even know why you're trying this maybe you should just drop out and no one will expect anything and then what would you have to worry about and did the time start already holy shit you need to stop thinking and do this and if only I was born a genius...and that was just when I slept. So I stopped sleeping. This is where I learned how to lob off imperfect pieces. This is where I learned to diffuse.
I finally passed and I graduated in the 25th percentile. I was devastated. What was the point of going to school if you couldn't graduate in the top 10? How ordinary. I received the Torchbearer Award for graduating through adversity. I'd planned to go away to school, but I was needed, so I enrolled in junior college. I met some of my dearest friends there. I pushed myself. I failed and I soared fantastically. TThis was where I learned to disrobe. I held my doors wide open. This was where I was desexualized and mammified. This was where I became a monolith. This was where I learned to bend exoticism to my will.
To Be Continued.