I look like my mother.
I carry her curly hair on my shoulders and her laughter in my cheeks
I pray to her, with her, for her, every morning and every night.
I started wearing lipstick when I moved away because my mother could be late, but not sans colourful lips.
I look like my mother, I proudly declare as my reflection gets ready in the morning.
She is the most honest person I know,
and has confessed every embarrassing moment of her life to me.
How wicked, to remind me of her mortality, her imperfections, her moments of weakness.
I am tired, I am weak, would you mind making dinner for your father and me?
Oh, you’re having trouble. Here, let me.
My mum heals with everything she does and has ignited that same yearning within me.
You were put on this path to listen,
you were put on this path to guide,
you were put on this path to help,
you were put on this path to show everyone that God is everywhere.
Stay strong, you have been taught to lead by example.
I look like my mother, and I pretend that it is her in the shadow that
follows me as I jump through hoops and crawl through tunnels. I cannot
fathom a world where she is different from me, and I from her.
Sometimes I wonder: maybe I am trying so much to become my mother that I have forgotten how to be myself:
I want to tattoo all of her achievements on my skin, it would only serve as a list of all that I have yet to accomplish.
I am finding who I am supposed to be, and I look just like my mother.
Originally published in F Word.
The Cocoa Butter Column is a weekly column in The McGill Daily that showcases and validates the experiences of BIPOC women and femmes through poetry.
Brown girls who have experienced events that have made them feel ‘othered’ or empowered on campus can send an original poem telling their story or email Kathleen Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org to either schedule a short interview or send her a paragraph describing their experience. Kathleen Charles will write a poem that will validate, honour and raise awareness about what you choose to share with her in all confidentiality.
This column is here to encourage BIPOC women and femmes to speak up, take space, and reclaim our time.