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Periaktoi Writing Post

Volume 55
Issue 1

Single Visual Art Post

  • Essay
I Believe in Stepping Out
Olivia Cranford


What has four sides and once in, is almost impossible to escape? A box. I’m constantly put in a box by society called “Other.” I believe in stepping out of that “box.” Not only am I black but I’m also Hispanic. Trying to pick which box I fit into gives me a Mount Everest sized headache. Black, White, Asian, Native American, or “Other” is always an option to choose. Since, I’m “Other,” I’m forced to squeeze my unique ethnicity into one identifying box. I’m like a flower with multi-colored petals that stand out in a field full of homogenous flowers. I embrace being eccentric. Although that box is suffocating, I believe we should see outside of it and accept people for who they are on the inside.

Relating to one specific culture has always been troublesome for me. Neither of my parents or any of my peers can relate to my constant struggle of “fitting in.” I’m like a un-bloomed flower surrounded by fully bloomed flowers. I’m either not black enough because I can’t relate to my black peer’s upbringing, or I feel not Hispanic enough because I can’t speak Spanish. Because I don’t speak the Spanish language, I get weird disapproving looks when I sadly say no when asked if I do. I feel hopeless in this predicament of mine. Discussing this with my friends is an aggravation because they don’t understand. I could easily mark that pesky little box as black, but I can’t; I would be omitting my mom’s side, the Latina side.

My black friends see me as black until they make a comment and everyone around me understands, and I’m just confused. I always give a soft little giggle pretending I comprehend. However, it never fails for someone to acknowledge my puzzlement and give me the most earth shattering reality check. I have an unwanted spotlight on me when they say, “I forgot, you ain’t black.” I always laugh these comments off and just keep moving. After a while, I’ve been accommodated to being made fun of for not being “Black enough” or not “Hispanic enough.” I’m not just black or just Hispanic, I’m both. Being both can be difficult at times, but it makes me unique.

We’re all unique and have different quirks that we should be free to express. I’m constantly learning about who I am; quite frankly, I think we all are. We should stop looking at each other and immediately placing one another in one specified box. The sooner we look at each other for who we truly are the faster we can start relating in ways like never before. Every time I feel like I’m being forced into a box, I will continue to break out. I refuse to be boxed in! I believe in acceptance. I believe in learning. I believe in stepping out.