forgetting her name i tell the guy at the front desk i’m there to show the artist my skin color.

he looks at me like there are snakes on my head and proceeds to hand me an ipad and a questionnaire that if answered in global affirmation, allows them to injure me without consequence. signing away i step into the waiting area and begin walking through the museum-like artifacts lining the walls. each artist had painted their version of art around each station and i felt such joy to be in an atmosphere solely focused on bringing art to life.

staring at nudes i wondered if i’d ever have the courage to pose in front of others, to let them see my scars and not at the same time feel they were being re-opened. just as i questioned the art i’d chosen she walked out with a bright smile. i reached out to shake her hand and noted how small, how dainty, and how cold were her palm and fingers. she paused for one second too long while staring at me and i recognized the look. she thought she knew me and right as i realized it she asked. i laughed and told her what i tell everyone that asks the same question, “i have a universal face”. they laugh. i laugh again. it happens a lot so i think it must happen to everyone.

she asks me to show her my skin and i pull my shirt up and show her. she smiles and says it’s perfect. two seconds was all it took to prove i’m good to go, good to schedule a real session. “high yellow” is what the adults called me as a kid. it took years to understand what they were laughing about.

sometimes, no – often times i forget i’m african american, french, indian, and the syntax of many other immeasurable things. it’s ironic that art of all things should question the validity of itself via the rose-colored glasses of shade.

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