What I Love Most About Myself

I love everything about myself

I don’t care if my confidence offends you lack thereof

I don’t care if a billion dollar industry is hurt

because I refuse to pretend that my caramel skin is a more desirable shade of brown.

It took me fifteen years

Fif-teen years

To look in a mirror and be content

I get that i’m not Marilyn or a Kardashian

I don’t want to be

But I can tell you

That the catcalling dogs

And the angry aunts at every family gathering

Think that I am a goddamn model.

I don’t intend to be the internet’s epitome of beauty

I know I am grand on my own

Ma beauté aime mon cerveau

Meglio delle storie di Verona

Plath and Poe raised me to my 16th power

I have wrapped my head around concepts the grown-ups couldn’t

I don’t mean to brag

I’m just stating the fact

That even though my graceful nature seeps through my skin

It is not my favorite thing

 

The thing I love most about myself

Is my name

My last name

Mohan

M

O

H

A

N

Mohan is a common south Asian,

Middle Eastern,

And Caribbean name

Mohan means charismatic

Even the word that describes it is indulgent!

But my name tends to get more attention than me

 

It’s what makes my teachers giddy before they meet me

It’s what makes people assume my religion

It’s what gets me accused of crimes who’s headlines start with

“Muslim”

Or “Islamic”

Because to the blind ear

Mohan is the same diction as Mohammed

To counter this

I’ve been told to turn my back on my brown brothers and sisters

To wear bigger crosses

As if my relationship with God is everyone’s business

To declare a white Jesus as higher

Than the fake Allah

And that the goddess Kali and lord Shiva mean nothing

To me

My favorite thing about myself is my last name

In five letters it contains torn textiles

Of slaves ripped away from homes

Not one,

But two seas away

My last name holds a history

That the white people at College Board

“Forgot”

To include

into the AP world history curriculum

 

I could be a daughter of Khutulun

I could be a daughter of Hypatia

I could be a daughter of Ching Shih

I could be a daughter of Chiomara

I could be a daughter of Hatshepsut

But we will never know

 

And you will never know

How all five women

Can fit into five letters

My name

My bloodline

Is richer than wall street

And that's why

My last name is my favorite thing about myself.

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My family

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