Growing up I always felt like an outcast. I was always weird.
I found out I was adopted at a young age, it didn't mean much to me back then because I was young but later in life I found out my biological mom had many more kids after me and that I was the only one put up for adoption.
I felt unwanted as a kid and even as a teen I felt more confused about so many things. I had so many questions but no one could answer them.
I never felt like I belonged anywhere or that I was a part of something and having a broken relationship with my adopted mom certainly didn't help.
Growing up in a predominantly black country I never had to think about racism, I never had to worry about my identity or whether a system was built for me or against me.
Being in America, I had to learn that having a dark complexion set you apart from others. I remember filling out applications for college and would choose “other" instead of African American because I am Jamaican.
I would often say to people “I am Jamaican, I am not black” because being Jamaica was different from being black in America to me. Being Jamaican was a race of its own and that set me apart from “African Americans”, but I soon realized that being in America if your skin tone is a certain shade it doesn't matter what country your from YOU'RE BLACK.
But, I still didn’t understand what It meant to be black. For many years I struggle with fitting in because I wasn’t sure where I belonged. I didn’t know anything about America’s black history and I certainly didn’t like what my black friends liked.
I remember being teased in school because I didn't watch certain “black" programs or knew who certain “black" musicians were. To be fair I’m not from this country so I had to learn. A friend asking me once to make her a Heather Hartley CD and I responded “Who was Heather Hartley” and she gave me the “What Da Fuck” face. That day I spend a bit of time asking Jeeves who she was and listening to her music.
Being on my own at such a young age, a stranger from another land, I had to blend in with black Americans. But still, even so I never felt like I belong. I never felt connect to the black community.
Among my friends I was considered a “white girl trapped in a black girls body". I wasn't black enough. I would often ask, what does it mean to be black? Am I less black because I like Linkin Park, Fall Out Boys and just about every punk rock music out there, more than I did hip hop? It wasn't until 2010 that I learned who Biggie and Tupac were. Am I less black because I've never watched the Cosby show, Martin or the Wayans Brothers? These were questions I would often ask because I wanted to know.
What Am I?
Where do I fit in?
How do I fit in?
I was once told black girls shouldn't wear bright colors because it didn’t look good against our dark skin and that I wasn't black if I didn't wear my hair in an Afro.
I found myself at an disadvantage because here I am in this new country that classified me as a black person, but the black community was telling me I wasn’t black.
I felt broken and lost. I felt even more out of place than I ever did before.
In 2010, I ventured into modeling because it was something I’ve always wanted to do. It was something I thought was perfect for me because I would find a place to belong. A Community to be a part of. But I soon learned that even in the modeling community I wasn't going to fit in. I was too black or not black enough, too fat or not fat enough, my accent made me stand out too much and my personality was too bright. Once again, I found myself asking where did I belong?
I want to be an artistic nude model. I want to create art with my body. I want to show the world the art of being naked and unafraid, being comfortable in your own skin, the art of being free. But I also want to help people. I want to help little girls, little boys, our youths, our babies. But, I was told I couldn't do both. I was told an Artistic Nude model isn’t a good role model to help people in the community.
Being an artistic nude model meant not having a non-profit organization.
For a while, I ponder on this. I even consider stop pursuing modeling and just focus on being a positive role model. I looked up many women that are considered positive role models and I was going to follow in their footsteps but I wasn’t happy with who I was trying to be. I didn’t like myself.
I felt even more discombobulated and out of place.
I had to take a step back and asked, “Who am I?”
I’m a girl from on island whose population is 2.88 million people,
My culture sets the foundation of who I am.
I am black.
I don’t wear my hair in an Afro.
My biggest role models aren’t real people,
They only exist in Japanese animation and comic books
I love all genre of music but,
I love Bon Jovi,
Fall Out Boys,
And the list goes on. . . The most
I’ve never seen The Wire,
And the list goes on. But I hope one day I will.
I don’t know many hip-hop artist but I appreciate and love hip-hop culture.
I don’t like listening to rap music but I love DMX.
I love people, not just black people but,
I am PRO-BLACK.
I love reading manga and comics
Science fiction novels is the world I live in.
I am bi-sexual. No I am not confused.
I don’t consider myself a feminist, but I support women’s right.
I am adopted, not unwanted.
I believe the human body is the great art form and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it.
I love helping people even if they don't think I am a great role model.
I am an artistic nude model with a non-profit organization.
I was sexual abused, but that doesn’t define me.
My scars are beautiful because they tell my story.
I love tutu’s because I am a princess.
My self confident was once self hatred.
I make mistakes but I’ve also learned from them.
I am not perfect and I don’t want to be.
My name is my story.
I am Trudean Haye.
There wasn't a box out there for me and I was never going to fit in anywhere. So, I created my own. I am different and that's okay.
Often time we try so hard to fix in boxes that aren't meant for us. Sometimes we fail to see that, being in those boxes are the source of our unhappiness.
People are going to judge you no matter what you do and because you’re different you’re going to always feel like an outsider but don't be afraid to stand out even if it means standing alone because people who genuinely appreciate what makes you different will gravitate towards you and love you for who you are.
For years I thought finding somewhere I belong meant fitting into a mold created by someone else. That I had to live up to other expectations when all I had to do was live up to my own.