Whiteout

My parents named me Blanca. We’re not Spanish or Mestizo or Latino or anything like that. We’re white. Like, super white. Like soooooo white. But people always ask, because my name. So I’ve learned a bit about the other cultures, a bit about the history of my name, this name that doesn’t feel like mine because I haven’t earned it. But it is mine. My name. Cause what else could I call myself? I mean, I guess I can change it when I’m eighteen or whatever, but like, it’s mine. My name. I was born and they named me and now it’s mine. I don’t even know what else I’d call myself, because my name is Blanca. I’m not a Sarah or a Jessica or a Tiffany or any other super white girl name that would be more appropriate. I’m Blanca.

Right, so the why, I’m sure you want to know why. Why in the world would two super white, ultra white, parents name their kid Blanca? Are they super woke? No. In fact, I’d argue that if they were woke they would have known better than to steal someone else’s culture. Def not woke, but I’m working on them. Still, the question: how did I end up with this name? First of all, and you may not know this because I didn’t know it til I started doing research around twelve years old, Blanca is also a French name. Like Blanche. Second of all, my parents are not French either, and the only other Blanca’s I’ve ever heard of have been Spanish speakers. So.

I’m Blanca cause when I was born it looked like I had no hair, or like that super fine and super light blonde hair that makes everyone call you a Toe Head, whatever that means, I mean, my toes aren’t blonde so whatever. Anyway, as may parents are cooing over their little blonde marvel (my mom’s a ginger and my dad’s a brunette so the odds were low) they realized that it wasn’t actually fine blonde hair on my head, but white. I was born with low melanin and therefore am what people refer to as albino.

When people realize I was born with white hair they’re always shocked. “I thought you just dyed it white cause of your name,” “why would anyone name their albino kid Blanca,” “wait, so it just stayed that way?” I’ve heard it all. Some of it is insulting, upsetting, rude. Some of it is just curiosity or lack of tact. I dunno. I try not to let it get to me. People are messed up, not just kids being mean to kids, but like adults really don’t know what the hell they say sometimes either.

So here I am, an albino chick with a Latin name and honestly, it’s all good. I wouldn’t change anything. I mean, I’m super lucky because really there are a lot of issues we people with albinism sometimes have like the obvious sunburn concerns and a higher risk for skin cancer, but more than that, stuff like blindness and racists. I lucked out and have really great vision, I mean I need glasses and all, but that could be just as much due to the fact that both of my parents needed Lasik as it is to the albinism. The major thing though is people. People can be assholes.

Did you know that people actually think I’m a witch? Seriously. That costume is out at Halloween, because people already believe it. Ridiculous. Or like, a ghost. Can you see how far back into my head my eyes are rolling right now? Cause oh my god, people think I’m a ghost. Not all people, obviously, but this is a sincere issue for us. I’m lucky in my small town though that everyone has been welcoming, at least outwardly anyway. I’ve lived here my whole life and no one has ever said anything mean or bad to me. It might have something to do with the fact that we’ve studied albinism in every grade I’ve ever been in, which I think is thanks to my parents being sure it was always included in our science curriculum, but I mean, I think people would have been cool without that too. Or I hope so anyway. I dunno.

I guess it just could be worse, and I’m pretty lucky, all things considered. My parents didn’t know what they were doing when they named me, but I don’t think any parents ever do. They did their best. And when they saw a little white haired baby they said, “I’ve always thought Blanca was the prettiest way of saying white.” So I know they think I’m pretty, and that helps. I think I’m pretty too. Not like in a stuck up way, but like a confident way. And that’s cool.

This #writethirtyminutes session was prompted very loosely from “A Year of Writing Prompts” by Writer’s Digest, available here

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