The journey I took to who I am now has not been easy. I didn’t grow up with my parents, which was extremely difficult when it came to understanding who I was, where I came from, and who I was destined to become.
It was especially hard being mixed race. My mother was white and my father, who I never had the opportunity to meet, was black. Both of them have long passed away and have had very little influence in who I am as an adult, except for not wanting to follow in their foot steps. I’ve used them and their deaths as motivation to do better (check my archives for another article about them). I am mixed race and though I knew this growing up, I’ve always identified as black.
The main reason I identified as black, at least as a kid, was because people told me I was black. I was always identified as “Jerica, that tall black girl” and it was something I had to learn to fully appreciate.
As a kid, in the environment I was raised in, being black was something to look down on. The person who was supposed to raise me and care for me, who was supposed to be a father figure, treated me like shit merely because I was black. And I didn’t understand that until I was older. I remember asking myself, “Why does he hate me?” And when I say hate, I mean he HATED me.
There wasn’t a day that went by where I wasn’t called a nigger. It was either a toss between “nigger bitch” or “stupid nigger” or my personal favorite, “the nigger’s daughter.” See, to this person, the fact that I was black meant I was subhuman; I was constantly told how much of a failure I would be because I was black. I wouldn’t amount to anything, because I was black. My hair was “nappy, like a mop” because God was punishing me for being black.
Those comments and the horrible way I was treated was something I had to live with for most of my life. Imagine a child being told that because of their race, they’re worthless. And the effect of all this lead me to feel worthless. I wanted to kill myself because my worthless black life didn’t deserve to live, didn’t deserve love.
When I found out my father died, I was fifteen and this was the point in my life where I was extremely depressed and suicidal. I received a letter in the mail from the Santa Clara County, who had been looking for my dad to pay child support, stating that the “non-custodial parent Jason P. Scott” was deceased and they would no longer be investigating my case. My mean, no duh, he was dead.
I didn’t know how to feel at that point. I didn’t know him and I had this fantasy since I was a child that he would come and take me away from the hell I was living in. But, I think my dad knew he couldn’t be a good dad. I especially think it’s true after learning he wasn’t in my younger sisters’ lives either. He was far from perfect, he might have even been an asshole, but if it wasn’t for him and the path he took, we wouldn’t have been born.
As depressing as it is, and as much as I talk about it to my therapist, I have to remind myself of how far I have come. Despite everything, I fuckin’ love being black. Despite everything, I have chosen to never give up. Even now, I’m going through a rough patch but I know I’ll find a way out of it.
I don’t resent my dad, not anymore. I stopped thinking he abandoned me and started thinking that maybe I was somehow supposed to live this life because there was something bigger out there for me. Maybe, if my dad had been in my life, things would have been worse. Or maybe they would have been better. Maybe I wouldn’t have grown up thinking my blackness was a curse. I’ll never know.
I also was able to finally see what he looks like: