I don’t have a dad. Well, technically, everyone has one. You could call mine a sperm donor. He was “in my life,” but I think it would have been better if he hadn’t been.
I am the only white, teen girl at the office of Teen Voices but such feelings of otherness are not unfamiliar. This afternoon we crowd around a small TV to watch Good Hair, a documentary about the culture of African American women's hair. Surrounded by cornrows, dreadlocks, extensions and relaxed hair of every length and style, my shoulder-length dirty blond hair stands out as brightly as my skin color. After nine years, however, I am proud of these messy locks.
When I was eight years old, all the hair on my body began to fall out. Despite what many assumed to be the result of cancer treatment, it was Alopecia: an arbitrary loss of hair affecting any person regardless of age or health.
As she walks, thirty eyes follow her movement. I stare down at the floor, trying to distract myself and attempting to reach a center of serenity. Deep breathing, beautiful beaches, gentle waves. These images should lead to inner peace, I think, at least according to the movies. It's not working. Instead, I see a bomb ticking in my mind, clicking to the movement of her heels as she steps. She arrives at a desk.
I'm from Ghana, a country in West Africa. I was born here and I've lived here all my life. Ghana is a country with a history most of us learn about at a young age via storytelling and myths in school and at home. Aside from all of the spectacular aspects of my country, we're still faced with poverty. This challenge has led to so many problems. One major effect of this poverty is the country's high rate of illiteracy.
People refer to me as "Little Grubbs," which sounds cute, and I don't mind this nickname. But I do mind the nickname "Caitlyn's little sister." I don't have a problem with her being my sister. Feeling like Caitlyn's shadow frustrates and hurts me. I am my own person." I have my own name.