By Fighting Gender Expectations, My Mother Made Room for Me to Be Myself

“but bein alive & bein a woman & bein colored is a metaphysical 

dilemma/ i havent conquered yet/ do you see the point 

my spirit is too ancient to understand the separation of 

soul & gender”

-Ntozake Shange

Art by Demetria

My mother has always made an effort to push against forces that try to define her personhood. As a child, she actively challenged the image of the “perfect Black daughter” that her sisters created and abided by. Instead of focusing on getting good grades or learning how to do hair like her siblings, she spent her days hosting relay races on her neighborhood block, dreaming of being an auto-mechanic, making others laugh, flirting with boys, and living her life the way she wanted to. 

Her ...

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Amari Gaiter

Amari Gaiter is a writer, aspiring community organizer, educator, facilitator and a lover of music based in New York and Los Angeles.

Amari has written 11 articles for us.