People of Harlem, I am through apologizing to you.
Five months ago, I was a stranger, an intruder, a huddled mass on your shore. I sought refuge and a new life and prepared to adapt myself to your ways. I made no noise between the hours of 11pm and 11am. I held doors open and moved to the side on the sidewalk. I never sat on the train, and I tried to make myself as small as possible. All to make you like me.
Since then, I’ve suffered your sweltering summers. Your snowflakes have dusted my eyelashes. I’ve walked your streets in the early morning hours to go to work, and the early morning hours coming home from…well, you know, Harlem. You’ve seen me bouncing from bodega to bodega in search of beer after 11pm. You’ve witnessed my long strolls home from therapy. You’ve seen my walks of shame, and my SERIOUSLY shameful walks.
So that’s it, Harlem. I’m not a stranger anymore. I mean, I’m still strange, but cabbies, stop honking at me when I walk to the bus. I may be wearing fur, but I’m not paying $40 to go downtown. I’m a Harlem girl. And stop shouting “White girl, white girl, white girl!” at me when I pass. I ain’t no white girl. I’m a Harlem girl. Damn proud.