This picture was taken at my junior prom. I went to a predominantly White high school and I was one of a handful of Black kids at the school. If the whole school had 2,000 kids, maybe 20 of them looked like me. Maybe. So when prom time came along I didn’t have a date. So who is that in the picture? My cousin. Yep. I went to the prom with my cousin.
Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t as if people were mean to me or anything because no one was. I had friends and knew lots of people in high school but when it came to dating it was as if I was invisible. Have you ever felt that way?
High school was painful for me. It’s not a time that I look back on with fond memories because while I had many friends, I didn’t have any dates. Dating is something that all of my friends were able to experience but I didn’t go on my first real date until I got into college. I don’t think I would have the same experience if I was in high school today, things have really changed and I think interracial dating is accepted in most high schools now. I don’t know any girls that are currently attending my high school so I have no idea if my assumption is correct or not but from what I know about this generation of teenagers, I don’t think I’m wrong.
In this picture I hadn’t been overseas yet. I only spoke English and I had no idea about anything really. I was just a miserable 16 year old who desperately wanted to be done with high school, go to college so I could be seen. I was tired of being invisible. While traveling opened my eyes to so many wondrous things that I couldn’t possibly had dreamed of, it also showed me that I am not invisible and there were people outside of my family that saw my worth. That’s an amazing lesson to be able to learn and I’m eternally grateful.
I hope these Throwback Thursdays give you a little glimpse into what makes me who I am and why traveling is so important for my well-being.