“They didn’t tell me”

There’s a lot of things that they didn’t tell me.

They didn’t tell me that I’d be one of only a handful of students who look like me.

They didn’t tell me that student of color representation was only 20 percent of a whole populous.

They didn’t tell me that the friends that I have already made would be the only people I would trust wholeheartedly for the next four years, with the exception of a few names that I could count using both hands.

They didn’t tell me that my professors wouldn’t look like me,

and that they wouldn’t understand,

not that they would care to.

They didn’t tell me that my name would never be pronounced right,

not even once in a whole semester.

They didn’t tell me that growing thicker skin isn’t a coping mechanism,

but rather a survival tactic,

and that evidently sticks and stones do break bones

and pierce through hearts in the process.

But there are a few things that they did say —

They said they saw something in me,

a light that could never go out,

But that light has grown dimmer now

and has become ten shades darker over the duration of my time here.

They said this was an amazing opportunity for me,

that I’d be going to school for free 

and that I’d be making my parents so proud.

I can’t help but wonder if that pride would diminish

or restore if they ever heard them say

all that they do about people who cross borders —

that they want to build walls to drown them all out.

They said they had the perfect solution to loneliness.

Ten friends, ten faces,

but what good are ten bodies

when together, are hardly considered one?

I’m riddled with insecurity and questions,

questions pertaining to truth.   

I wonder why they wouldn’t tell the true purpose of my presence —

I am not an addition, I am a necessity.

I wonder how I could be so fortunate

and unlucky all at the same time —

to be afforded an opportunity like this,

to live like this,

to be broken, bent,

and put back together

stronger,

taller,

but broken nonetheless.

There’s a lot that they didn’t tell me,

and I’m finding out now.

They say ignorance is bliss,

but I refuse to remain ignorant.

2/13/17
K.M.