Photo by Fine 3d
You show me a picture and ask me how I feel.
What picture is this, I ask, uncertain.
A picture of you, of course, what do you mean?
A good picture at that, for look at all there is.
Of me? I say, but I still don’t understand.
Who took it? For what purpose? What is it meant to show?
I see faces and images that bear very little resemblance to mine.
But an image of me, my face, I do not see.
I recognize the subjects and am familiar with the names.
I hear them discussed in the hallways, the classroom, the office.
I search and search, and my silence prolongs.
You get frustrated because I haven’t answered your probe.
You tell me that this picture is the best ever taken.
A picture of human prowess and innovation.
You tell me that many others love this picture.
But I simply cannot see me in the picture you give.
My silence is not one meant to irk you, please believe.
I am not him or her or they or them.
I am me with nuanced experiences that shape my being.
So my silence prolongs because I know me.
I live me on the daily, with those who reflect me.
I know of the richness and depth of experiences in the spaces I occupy.
I know that my history is one that begins with human existence.
I know myself, my worth, my abilities, and my propensity for excellence.
So I keep quiet, I disengage, I walk away.
For I cannot give you the answer that you so crave.
For I don’t see me in the picture you give.
Yes, there are aspects I can identify with, aspects I applaud.
Overall it is a beautiful picture, one that belongs on a wall.
You chose this picture because you wanted it seen.
I appreciate your effort in sharing it with me.
But if seeing myself in a picture is what you seek, please know this.
The picture is one that should be about me.
Showcase my being, my culture, my experience.
Most importantly, center me as your subject, and learn the best framing for me.
Then I will be able to give you the answer you desire.
Because then, we will both be looking at a picture of me.