Out of nowhere, a taxi swerved and stopped right in front of me like it was a police car and I was some criminal on the run.
An elderly woman stepped out of the taxi.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing dressed like that?”
I was wearing loose-fitting blue jeans and a black t-shirt. My tightly-coiled hair hung about my face untied.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
It was around 2:00 pm in the afternoon in Al-Haganah.
There, people get their water supply from a public water tap.
There were a lot of people waiting in line, among them was a Sudanese woman.
She was in her forties, wearing a traditional Sudanese dress.
She obviously had to wait in line with everyone else.
But she also had to wait until everyone else finished.
Just because she was Sudanese.
I have a problem with my body.
It suddenly got bigger and I felt the need to always hide it.
I had to hide my hair and my breasts.
And menstruation was the biggest secret of all.
My appearance is what’s stopping me from getting on stage.
I’ve even considered cosmetic surgery.
I’m learning script writing so that I could play my own self on stage.
I’ll write a play that talks about people like me.
I’ll find someone like me to play the leading role.
Some people at university would compliment my skin tone and ask me,
“How do you get so tan?”
I would tell them that it wasn’t a tan.
It was my skin color.
I thought they were making fun of me,
And that something was wrong with me.
My parents are Nubian.
I was born olive-skinned,
Like most Egyptians.
My brother, however,
Who’s a year and a half older than me,
Like most Nubians.
That’s not the only problem:
My brother has a disability:
A chronic ulcer on the sole of his foot.
I am dark skinned,
And I don't know when I started to hate how I look,
Nor when I convinced myself that I was not pretty.
I’m sure my parents think I am ugly.
Even my brother would say things like,
“I rejected a potential wife, because she looked like you.”