Hey APC! My name is Samarah Robinson and I’m a 15 year old from Northeast Oklahoma. I identify as a African American Woman and use she/her pronouns. I am currently a Sophomore in high school taking classes that fill my interests for the performing arts such as Drama and Choir. I also participate in various straight plays and musicals throughout the year. My goal as a performer is entertaining the audience but also making them feel and walk away with something from my performance as I convey a story on stage.
The piece you’re about to read is titled “A Facade.” This personal writing explains all of my pain and mental suffering I’ve kept inside for years. It is inspired by my issues with self love,the performing arts,mental health,and being a growing black woman in the world. This tells of my experience with fighting my own mind and insecurities inside while having to put on a mask of positivity on for the outside world to see. ”A Facade” allowed me to put everything in my heart out there and show the side that is always hidden under for no one to see and is very close to my heart. I hope this piece relates to people who wants to feel loved for who they are,and most importantly love themselves. Enjoy.
“A Facade”:A personal writing of the experience of Samarah Robinson.
Samarah McKenzie Robinson.
But who is that? Let’s take a look.
A 15 year old black girl who happens to be a theatre kid who is so “put together.”
A persona to hide the side that is my truest form but stays down because I fear that if my truest self were to come out,people wouldn’t like the side of the person that they use as their exception and shiny display case to hide their anti-blackness and what they think of me deep down. Now you say “Let’s pause.A theatre kid?Interesting. Let’s look at that.” Okay. But this is not your average tale. You must forget I’m black and have to work twice as hard to get half as much as my white peers. The way an artistic staff stares me up and down and automatically decides to cast me as the funny,sassy,strong black woman and decide that as my costume. Yes. Costume.
Because this stereotype is used for so many black women that it is a costume. A character that satisfies the white need and enjoyment of racial stereotypes for black people. A character that allows you to discriminate and stay in your bubble of white comfort. But have you ever thought of what the person in the costume feels? How it feels to be viewed as nothing but a joke. How this same cycle of type casting and racial stereotypes pokes at my self hatred in my mind and says “Ha!You are nothing but a costume and trophy,and you will never get to do what you truly want. You will never be the ingenue. You will always be a costume and the Token Black Girl.Always.” So, it beats me down and drowns me in a pool of suffering mental health. An ocean of self-hatred and doubt. But the thing is,is that I never learned how to swim. I never tried to grab any floaties and try. Try to love myself. Because I was convinced and still convince myself that it could never happen. Because I will always wear the costume labeled “Samarah Robinson: The Overweight,Funny,Sassy,Strong,Black Girl.”
An outside mask. The black girl who is “so put together.” The black girl on honor roll. The black girl involved in and out of a school. The black girl who got Sophomore Vice-President. The “exceptional” black girl. The black girl who comes as such a surprise to you because she’s not the degrading,disgusting image of what you think a black girl is,which is far from the truth. No. No. But when you take off the mask you adore,you see a black girl drowned in bad mental health from school and the monsters inside of it. You see a girl fighting with no one other than her mind. You see a girl that holds such high standards for herself, that if those goals aren’t hit right on the mark,she beats her self down so much, she thinks of herself as nothing. You see a girl biting her tongue and say what she wants to say about the ignorant people at school who touch her hair, say the n word and look her dead in the eye, look at her in history when we talk about slavery, and racially profiling her. Because if she said what she was thinking, her mask that she so desperately tries to keep up no matter what the cost, would crack and people would see that hidden side that’s beaten and bruised. That side that says what she wants so desperately to say. The side of her that wants to scream and cry,and cry,and cry and say “Help.Please.” But,she takes a shaky breath, with her lungs filled with anger,and walks away. She goes on and keep the mask secured. The lies of positivity and self love go on,and on,and on. The mask of a people pleaser goes on. The mask that shows what everyone wants to see goes on. But most importantly, the mask of happiness goes on.