No Way, Shape or Form [3]

I’ve always recognized that I am black. Other people seem to remind me of that as well. So as you can imagine, I’m well aware that I am black. But while interning at Northwestern, working in a lab with the majority of people being of minority status, and all the people in my program being either Asian, Hispanic, or Black, I forgot what race I was and it was nice. I didn’t forget my race as if being black is a bad thing, I forgot it in the sense that it wasn’t the most important aspect of my being. That identity faded and I became Megan, the girl who is actually pretty funny, Megan, the girl who can dance but likes to do strange dance moves, Megan, the girl who’s laugh is the reason they’re actually laughing. Because I was no longer looking through the lens of a black female, I could look through the eyes of Megan.

Chicago is in no way, shape or form similar to my small city. Here, you cannot go 10 minutes without getting into traffic where as at home, if I ever saw traffic, I would actually get excited. In Chicago, you look up and you see metal, steel, and concrete carving into the sky whereas in my town, you look up and you see birds, clouds and the occasional airplane. Chicago has always been my dream city because its everything that I’ve never known. It’s straight out of a magazine and right by Lake Michigan. You get the serenity of the water and the adrenaline of the city all assembled to make a beautiful landscape.

There is one misconception about Chicago (at least the area I’m working in) that I would like to clear up. First of all, regardless of all the noise and traffic, it really is a beautiful city. Also, its not as “unsafe” as many people make it out to be. Granted, I don’t recommend walking alone at 2 am in any big city, but I want to make clear that it a nice place to walk around in the daytime and in the evening.

It is my dream city, and I’m living in it!

 

One thought on “No Way, Shape or Form [3]

  • July 27, 2018 at 4:41 pm
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    Megan, thank you so much for sharing your experience of how the weight of your identities feels in different situations. As a white woman, I haven’t personally experienced what it is like to be a black woman in predominantly white spaces, but I really appreciate the opportunity to hear what your experience has been like so that I can work on being better for others. It sounds like in much of your life the weight of your identity as a black woman has felt stronger because you were in situations where other people weren’t “like you,” but that in your current internship, lots of people around you are “like you” or at least that there isn’t as much of a majority, and it has lowered the weight of your identity as a black woman. At least this is what I’m thinking about as I read about your experience. Of course, that identity is an important part of who you are and will always be there, but it’s interesting to see how different elements of our identity take the forefront in situations where other people don’t share that identity and you notice yourself being “different.” I know one way that has come up for me is culturally; I come from a Jewish culture and don’t think about it a ton except when I’m in situations where people are, say, celebrating Christmas, because it reminds me of how I’m not a part of that identity.

    I’d be really curious how you feel about “forgetting” that you’re black, like you say. What was this experience like for you?

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying Chicago so much. It’s such a cool city!

    Maggie

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