HOUSTON – 2021 was my ebony year.
A year in which every color mixed together until it created a pool so rich with hues that I couldn’t really tell what was what anymore.
In the art world, we treat colors as equations, and brown (ebony) has three primary ones: Red+Green, Blue+Orange, and Yellow+Purple.
This year I saw red in the faces of those on the news and people around me.
It seemed like the individuals who were supposed to support me the most only saw me through a crimson haze.
I felt a blue that gripped the corners of my very being.
In some moments it was so deep and intoxicating that it took my breath away.
All I could do was watch from a place far away from myself as I morphed into someone I couldn’t recognize.
When I peeled back the layers of my frustrations, I revealed raw pockets of green.
Earthy remnants of unspoken envy and stifled insecurities that I’d never dare to admit peered back at me.
Everywhere I turned, I heard the bellowing screams of orange.
My own thoughts – coupled with the music I blared to subdue them – became so loud and overbearing that I couldn’t see straight.
Remarkably, in the same breath, orange became my sanctuary.
For once, I turned up the volume of its hues. The noise seemed to wrap its arms around me and dull the sting of life’s many blows.
A puzzling purple leered in the back of my mind as I watched dreams I’d chased after desperately taking their final bows.
Purple prompted me to regret my decisions and turn back before it was too late.
Luckily my yellows always found a way to silence it.
Because of my yellows, I bared my biggest smiles yet onto the world.
I exchanged laughter that rang like church bells, cheeky hidden smiles, and tear-soaked heart-to-hearts with the friends I chose to call my own.
My family was there every step of the way.
As I look upon the future, the only thing I am sure of are its many uncertainties.
My ebony year saw me grow in ways I never could have imagined.
It was both piercingly beautiful and painful in a way that mere words cannot express.
I wait in anticipation for what my 2022 has in store.
I can’t help but wonder what tones will make up this next colorful year.
Christine Marinho is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.