goodbye to the brown person

I have a story I’ve been carrying around my whole life. I’ve been very aware of this story for years, but recent events have made me see that this particular narrative has long worn out its welcome.  The discomfort of holding on to it is far outweighing any ‘positives’ it may have once provided.

My story has given me meaning. It has helped me make sense of the world and my place in it. It has been my identity, my way of viewing and navigating life. It’s been my ‘karma’, my role, my destiny this time around.

Unfortunately, it’s largely been a ‘me against the world’ tale.

'love' , toni carmine salerno, blueangelonline.com

‘love’ , toni carmine salerno, blueangelonline.com

I know when it started. I was about six years old and a classmate and I had an argument about something. I’m sure it was all very cute and humourous, but what I most remember is her glaring at me, red-faced.  “Shut up,” she sputtered, “you…you…you…brown person!”

In that moment, life turned a new direction.  I was stunned.  Brown person?  I had no idea I was a ‘brown person’, let alone that it was something that could be used against me.  I don’t remember how I responded, if I did at all.  From then on, I was on shaky ground; everything was approached with caution and trepidation. Did everybody secretly think I was a ‘brown person’?  Clearly it was not a good thing.  I remember being in the backseat of my best friend’s mother’s car, telling her what happened.  ‘She’s prejudiced’, she said. ‘Prejudiced’, I mulled, repeating it slowly in my head.  What a fancy word.

White people became what I most admired and resented.  I would have given anything to be white.  To have that power.  Now that it had been brought to my attention, everything seemed to point to my difference. Not just my conspicuous brown skin, but my parents and their weird accents, always talking about ‘back home’. My grandparents, in their embarrassing clothes, and even weirder accents.  The food I ate.  The cultural activities I had to participate in, when all I really wanted was Christmas.

Throughout my childhood I idolized whiteness, yet felt totally separate from it.  This stayed with me through my teenage years, but blended with some major rage.  In glorifying whiteness, I totally dismissed – and was disgusted by – my brownness.   With this heavy inner conflict, I approached most relationships with a wall of insecurity and mistrust.  I had an intense fear of rejection.

Though I am not that teenager anymore, I don’t know that these feelings have ever completely dissolved.  I have wanted to maintain a sense of control in my interactions, so as to avoid pain: I won’t let you hurt me; I won’t let you stun me; I won’t let you catch me off guard and shake up my world; I won’t feel like a fool again; I will reject you before you reject me.

But of course that never works. Though my walls once served as safety and protection, over time they have closed in, and I have become acutely aware of how my story plays out in more subtle and insidious ways.  In the lingering need to impress, in wanting to project a certain image, in people pleasing.  In taking things personally.  In needing external approval and validation – especially from white men – to feel good about myself.

Until now, my own approval hasn’t been enough.

'acceptance', toni carmine salerno. blueangelonline.com

‘acceptance’, toni carmine salerno. blueangelonline.com

I am seeing with new eyes those parts of me that I hated and rejected for so many years – and asking their forgiveness.  I am embracing what I’ve been trying to escape my whole life – the difference I could never hide. I am feeling pain that I’ve spent so much energy being ashamed of my heritage and my loved ones – some of whom are gone.

I am thankful for this wakeup call.  Sometimes we need an event or person to blaze through our lives in order for us to truly ‘get’ something on a level we wouldn’t otherwise. It has to be big, so we feel the necessary pain that often inspires great change.

Or it’s just timing.  We grow up and realize we don’t have to act from our scared inner child anymore; we are far more powerful and responsible than that. We know that it’s truly time to get over it, and start serving the planet instead.  We see the excuse our story has become, and we count our many blessings.  We feel how precious our lives and energy and hearts are…much too precious to give away to fear, in all its seductive forms.  We realize we’re worth more than that.

***

I want to take my connections with friends, loved ones, and strangers to a deeper and more authentic level. To stop holding the vague grudge that I am ‘owed’ something.  To breathe through the discomfort that comes with a new and different way of Being.  My story is just a memory that became imprinted and ran away with Me. Yes, it served its purpose in getting me to this place, and I honour that.

But I am here now, and it is time to let it all go – not just for me, but to release the world of one more tale of pain and separation.

49 thoughts on “goodbye to the brown person

  1. Thank you for this. That initial shock of prejudice or people seeing you solely based on your color is always so jolting. Being Latina and White has also put me at the crossroads of culture and a quest for identity. It’s interesting too because my sister, even though she is also Latina/White has a lighter complexion than me so she’s presumed to be just white. My brother and I are the darker ones and out in public, when the three of us are all together, we’re often treated differently. I appreciate you sharing your own story of coming to terms with who you are and moving beyond the pain that comes from people seeing the color before the spirit.

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    • wow so interesting about you and your siblings. it reminds me of going to (south) india and being lighter than most people there. and that even within a culture there is that ideal, ie, light (‘fair’) skin is better. there’s always going to be some cultural standards we’re told to live up to, and it is hard to avoid. but we can be aware of this illusion while living in it…and focus on what’s really real – love, essence, divine beauty – amidst the chaos. thank you. xo aleya.

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  2. Hi beautiful Aleya!

    Thank you so much for posting this blog… I experienced something myself 4 months ago that seems to have left an emotional imprint, and even though I want to shake it off, it keeps coming back 😦 I came to the point that I feel desperate I just don’t know what to do anymore. Normally I can just reason with myself, but this one, came from an intense conflict in which I couldn’t ‘stand up for myself’ I keep hating myself for letting my boundaries be trespassed. But I was in a very stressful situation, I guess just trying to survive, so how can i keep blaming myself?

    Anyway, hopefully I can get out of this circle soon. If this is the Universe trying to say that I should always live close to my soul and in alignment, then the message is well received. Can we move on now then? 🙂 Would be great!

    I also understand what you wrote. I am half Indonesian and half Dutch, especially when I was a teenager I felt very confused and torn. Being just one of the 2 seemed easier to me as well. Even today when people ‘confront me’ by asking for example ‘hey you don’t seem to be totally Dutch, what are you?’ Mostly I reply by saying my name, because that is who I am, and it feels weird to me to tell them just 1 thing, as if I am putting myself in a box at the same time. I dislike labels. But I also know that people need boxes and labels to have some overview in this world, so can I really blame them? On top of that I guess people are just very interested. I have experienced some positive and negative discrimination. I wished people would just see me, instead of my Milky Way color 😉

    Love, peace, abundance, and complete self acceptation for you Aleya! I would love for you to write a book! 🙂

    Ilse

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    • Ilse, thank you for your comment. i love that you could relate to this post and that you’ve interpreted your experience(s) through what source/the universe may be showing you about alignment/boundaries. that is the powerful creator’s way of looking at a situation and seeing how we can grow from it. and sometimes it takes something big to shake us into awakening a little more. just when we think we’ve got it, source shows us a little more of the resistance we may still be holding about any given thing. 😉

      self-blame is such a painful thing – i know because i have been there, for many years. self-doubt, judging. and i just refuse to do it anymore, or i try to catch it quicker and quicker. if i don’t have my back, who will? and i’ve found that this makes me more gentle and easy on others.

      but as abraham would say, all this is practicing a new vibration and if we’ve done something else for so long, it will take some time to ‘lay new pipes’. so we have to be patience. and enjoy the unfolding of it all.

      thank you again for writing and sharing your experience. lots of love, aleya

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      • Thank you so much for your kind words Aleya! I guess that is what I need to give to myself. Being kind and gentle instead of punishing.

        I just feel so scared making decisions, even the tiny ones. Loss of self trust because of what happened. I am doubting everything in my life, it feels horrible. But writing you was a good choice, so I should have some more faith and patience!

        Thanks again Aleya! X

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        • you’re welcome! sometimes you just have to let the negative emotions ride out. then you can start again. it’s good to be authentic and aware. as abe says, ‘you are where you are’. and there is no judgment from source.

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  3. How courageous of you to love all of you after the journey you’ve had! Most people of color don’t realize the internalized self-hate that happens when growing up in a culture that doesn’t honor their skin, nor includes them in the concept of beauty. I dealt with this, myself, growing up, and have gone through a similar journey as yours. And, I, too, have emerged, honoring my skin, ancestors, and ancestral struggle to stand in integrity. Rock on!

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  4. Thank goodness I’m back on wordpress.com! It’s SO much easier to get to your blog and comment! Anyway, I’m glad things are coming up to be healed. And funny, I’ve always envied people with brown skin or the very least who could tan! Being white never seemed very cool to me, lol. Neither did thinking about going out in the sun and getting sunburnt, thanks to my red-headed father who passed along his pale skin and freckles, which I never liked until sometime after I turned 28 I think, lol. I had to grow into loving myself and still to this day, am working daily on loving myself and feeling worthy. I think all the work I’ve done on this this past year is starting to pay off in spades. I feel a massive surge of abundance coming on for me and for you!

    Love ya sister!

    P.S. NEW GOAL: There’s an Abraham-Hicks Alaskan Cruise coming up in July. If my surge of Abundance comes, I want to do it, and I hope you can too! My boyfriend and I have always wanted to go on an Alaskan Cruise! And he’s game to check out Abraham too…he’s a keeper I think! Lol!

    http://events.lifejourneys.net/AbrahamHicks/Alaska_2014/

    Check it out!

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    • hehe i was just yesterday looking at the AH site for their workshops etc. i like the idea of alaska!! it was either that or LA for my birthday. lol. i guess wayne dyer in hawaii didn’t happen, but one of my best friends will be in maui at the time, and she’ll probably end up there, so…perhaps i just need to tweak the manifesting ;).

      i think 2013 was the year of Getting Things Out. truly making way for great change in 2014. i just don’t see how it could be otherwise. isn’t it funny how we see in others all those beautiful things, but to see it in ourselves – well that takes a while to really get, doesn’t it. what i love about AH is that i will listen to them, then take a break while i ‘live life’ for a while, then when i come back to the teachings it’s from a new vantage point.

      so i’m sensing that i am/we are getting down to the real core of all those things that insert resistance to the process of aligning with source. all those things that place at the low end of the guidance scale. we never get it wrong and we never get it done and all that. 🙂

      i really think you and i will meet in 2014. i mean, i feel it. lol. lots of love xox

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      • Just now I finished one of 20 newspaper paintings I want to finish tonight and I did so as I listened to AH downloads (I get two a month) and I just let happen whatever happened so I painted a scene and then painted the words Dream it Into Being. The newspaper paintings are to be affirmation paintings and/or paintings with my pressed flowers incorporated. This one is both. I just posted it on my art biz’s Facebook page. Now I’m onto more AH downloads!

        I feel that we will meet too, that this will be there year that I finally sort of get my $@#% together and experience more high flying in the vortex! Time to get catch up with our vibrational realities if you will, lol, see you this year! Hopefully on a cruise, that’d be amazing!

        Love, love, love,
        Jackie

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    • yes it is going to be very amazing, i’m suuuper excited for all the adventures we all have ahead, and i can’t wait to share, and hear yours too! things are gonna be rockin’. i’ve had one of those abraham-hicks inundation weeks so feeling pretty high-flying-disc at the moment lol :)) aleya

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  5. When I hear stories like this, I am reminded of Die Hard with a Vengeance, where Zeus, played by Samuel L. Jackson, exhibits ‘reverse racism’.
    First, I know your post is serious and here I am, parading Die Hard.
    Second, racism, reverse or not, is a pretty fluckin’ word.
    Third, borrowing your words: This is my comment. 😉

    That said, I often wonder with stories like this, and even with my own experiences – and yes, they are quite a handful – whether I am being Zeus. Because of such experiences, the underdog becomes cautious, to the point of being defensive. So I ask myself from time to time, where I am at with this experience?

    I’ve learned to find humour helps solidify my own grounding, aiding me to be more aware of what to say in return, or whether I should keep my peace. It’s not always easy for me. My personality usually gets the best of me, and I end up retaliating. Subtle, but my knife can puncture. It is an instinct of survival – fight-flight response – and more often for me, I fight.

    So it began with humour, glazed with yoga, and layers of practice, and I can now enjoy the cake without pretense nor guilt, and moreover, a cake I can fully enjoy being ME. It is not always a piece of cake (got that pun?)… there would always be those moments that I am clutching my knife.

    Your openness here is very refreshing. I couldn’t even write about it without having the anger simmering. One incident can trigger a whole range of memories that piled up over the years. You are extremely more of a yogi than I am… and because of that, I won’t let you borrow my knife. 😉 xoxo

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    • lol i love that you injected a little die hard into this conversation. 🙂 i agree that humour is a great way to lighten up what has been/can be a very painful experience. and i definitely have those moments…waaaay more than i used to. of course, there is humour where you laugh in the moment, then go home and cry. and then there’s humour where you see the insanity and absurdity of it all. we see what a game we are all playing and how anything other than love is not real, therefore funny. i have those moments too.

      reverse racism yes. for many years i called it ‘internalized racism’. that was the Big Theme of my life, the problem – “internalized racism”. but old programs will just run and run until their time is really up, and i’m thankful that this is up. i could only write this post, this story, when i wasn’t so embroiled in it. obviously it is still in me, but the painful part of it isn’t so crushing. i can keep the essence of it, what i learned, and release the rest – what separates me from others (and from myself).

      a funny little twist on all this is that the other little girl friended me on facebook a while back. isn’t it so crazy…she probably had no recollection of the conversation at all. her memory of me was probably an little elementary school friend. now that is a mindf*ck. how words we don’t even remember saying (i’m quite sure she wouldn’t have remembered) can impact someone for years and years. this is true at any age. (i’m not blaming her btw – i can take full responsibility for my interpretation and process, and i see the beauty in how its shaped me.)

      i like that you can enjoy your cake 🙂 and i am happy that i am starting to really enjoy my own cake’s richness. thank you for this, and all your comments and support. lots of love. xo

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  6. the vulnerability here….wow. i wish we had more like you in life willing to truly go there. i feel like most glaze over everything? or, perhaps we just dissect every emotion and others just find us exhausting?

    this post, this writing, is like a old hidden wound that has been going deeper and deeper. festering. now that you are exposing the wound, giving it air, know that it will be given granulation tissue. and heal from the inside out.

    people can leave soul scars. i think you are working on this keloid now, and you are brave. and it’s so applicable to all of us…

    thank-you aleya for giving voice and for having a voice. i wish i encountered more in my life with this type of un-brandished intimacy, wisdom and rawness.

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    • thank you so much. this means a lot coming from such a powerful writer and Being such as yourself. thank you also for all your profound, soul-stirring words on your amazing blog. xo.

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    • awww..blushing! 🙂 my holidays are wonderfulllll, thank you. it is mild and green where i am – come see me!! happy you are in canada, that makes me smile and feel warm. xox

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  7. Oh my dear friend, you have again touched me so deeply. It is now 2:30 am in my little corner of the world and I am wrestling with my “brown-ness” though I am such a dull, white-bread, “pi-white trash” Southern redneck. But, oh am I such a “brown person” and my heart is heavy with it presently as it is so often. Thank you so much for opening your heart to us and may I find the courage to do the same for therein lies the Redemption that I was always taught lies “out there.” Thank you, thank you, thank you. I needed this. Now perhaps I can sleep through the rest of the night knowing that I am not alone in this cold, dark world.

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    • i’m so glad you connected with this post and that it brought you solace. we all have experiences of pain and separation and loneliness – whatever form the story takes, whatever people are presenting to us. being a sensitive soul can be challenging in this world of illusion. but there is also beauty. take care my friend. aleya

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  8. thank you for this powerful post. It is beautiful in its authenticity and truth. I am certain your story will have a huge impact on many. I agree it is time to get on with it and remember who we truly are and what we are supposed to be doing here.

    much love,
    Lina

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  9. WOW. This is profound and I can feel the sweet release these thoughts brought in. This is the year for letting go…isn’t it? I understand totally the assumptions that come with color. I’ve fortunately been able to remove from it and now I don’t feel from color. I wish that for you and I think you’ll get there faster than a blink. This is immensely powerful this post.

    I love this sentence: “To breathe through the discomfort that comes with a new and different way of Being.” I wish this too.

    You are beautiful. Thank you for this. Love Arifah

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    • this is SO the year of letting go. something big is gone. i think that’s a theme for many of us now. there is no option to hold on to the tired old stuff anymore. well we could but it’s harder than ever. it’s a sense of now of never – or, if not NOW, then when? why wait? we (i) most want to let go of pain, yet have been attached to the familiarity of it. but i think that’s changing as something beautiful is on the horizon and even if we don’t know what it looks like, it’s more tangible than ever. it is worth the risk of finally letting it all GO. sooo glad you are on this journey with me twin sis! i love that you don’t feel from color and i am happy that that’s becoming my reality more and more every day. big love, aleya

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  10. Your writing is so soft and lovely. I also wanted to be a white person as a kid and tried to emphasise my Australian side and play down the Indian. But as I got older it switched and now I get playfully annoyed if someone says ‘you don’t look Indian’…. ‘Did everyone secretly think I was a brown person?’ – LOVE this!

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    • so interesting how that works huh! it’s such a relief to stop hiding from our roots (speaking for myself) and really appreciate those things we once denied. it is like starting a brand new life all over again, becoming fascinated with aspects of our culture, getting to know ourselves on a completely different level. 🙂 thank you for your comment, aleya

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  11. This is a beautiful post. Your have made yourself vulnerable and shared yourself with your readers. I can give you kudos, but such courage has its own reward. And you can already feel that. Thanks for showing me who you are. And guess what! I like you.

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    • aw thanks so much. i like you too, life student. 🙂 i feel blessed to have this space to share my experiences and feel the receptivity from others. blogging and connecting to those i would never ‘meet’ otherwise has been huge in this process of self-expression and releasing what no longer serves. aleya

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  12. I first must say THANK YOU for sharing your brave tale!!! I’m so incredibly proud of you (as if you are my long lost sister)!!! And then I have the desire to just stay silent as I truly LISTEN to the depth of all that has been shared. I don’t know that my words can compliment or show just appreciation for your tale. However, I shall say this. IMAGINE!! What IF the first time you heard “brown person” it was relayed with admiration, love, and respect??? Imagine how differently your world….and those of others…would be!! One single moment started an epic tale of self-discovery. And still…I can see that your tale did not truly start there. You’ve been flowing to THIS space…in THIS life…so that you may learn to SEE through true eyes. And SO your world is now bright and new born!! Blessings to you dear sister!! May you always remember the LIGHT you are!!

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    • i love connecting with long-lost sisters! 🙂 thank you for your lovely comment, it made me smile and YES i love imagining hearing those words ‘brown person’ said with love, admiration, and respect. well, i guess in a sense i can go back in time and rewrite the story – reframe the whole experience for that little girl (both little girls). i agree that this has been a grand love story in the making – i had to go to those sad, separated places to discover and know the truth of who i am…who we all are…an eternal discovery but one that feels a lot lighter than it has before. thanks again and many blessings, aleya

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    • thanks, rob. absolutely…our words are so powerful. kids pick up so much from the adults around them and we never know the impact and influence one comment can have – at any age. thanks, aleya

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  13. You are a mighty soul to have signed up for such challenges. I have carried tremendous hate for myself and it is finally letting go of me. Sometimes the triggers for self hate come from the outside, sometimes they come from the inside. But we signed up for them as challenges, challenge that will aide us in bursting out into even brighter Truths of our real selves. You are one Mighty Soul having a great adventure. Thank you for your honesty. It is helpful to All.

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    • thank you dear julie…it feels really good to have these grand adventures, to be coming to a place of truth, and see the beauty that is presenting itself. i love all the connections that are coming through. much love, aleya

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