‘Tell Me Where The Brown Girl Lives?’

If someone had told me when I was in college that I would be referred to as ‘brown girl’ I would have laughed and said not a chance in hell. The sad reality though, was that had now become my name. I didn’t really know what to make of it at the time, I just felt like I was sinking deeper and deeper into the void. I named the town I was in ‘Mordor’ because in my mind, this place was filled with evil and orc like demons.

I was a few months into university now, and though I was skipping lectures a lot, I was still submitting my assignments on time…by a thread. I had pretty much turned into an emotionless zombie, staying in my room as much as possible. I spent most nights with tears streaming down my eyes, hoping that things would get better. My flatmates had taken to banging on my door at 4am screaming racial slurs whilst being half drunk themselves. I’d often watch the door being pounded on, praying that the lock would still stay intact. After weeks of the same behaviour, I snapped one night and anonymously called security. I heard the security guard pull up and tell them they needed to be quiet. That night, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. I found myself thinking, why was I being so vulnerable? Telling someone had bought me some peace! I decided I was going to report my flatmates to the resident housing officer. I had enough, I was going to draw the line and put a stop to how I was feeling.

That morning I wrote an email detailing the behaviour I had been dealing with for the past few months. I gave names and dates and even went as far as saying how depressive I had been feeling which was why I had been barely attending lectures. As I re-read it and hit send, I felt a mix of nerves and peace within the pit of my stomach. Maybe this was going to fix things for me, and get me out of this horrible rut I had been in. I switched my laptop off and headed off to a compulsory lecture (they took attendance for this specific lecture as it was a core module).

The next day rolled around pretty fast. I was sitting in my room binging on some Netflix when I heard my flatmates blasting music. This wasn’t uncommon for them, so I just carried on watching my programme. I heard the music turn off, and the voice of Sally talking to someone who I didn’t recognise the sound of. I strained my ears and I heard this lady introduce herself, ‘Hi I’m Emily, the resident housing officer, can you tell me what room that brown girl on this floor lives on?’ My heart sank. Any bit of hope I was holding onto to action some change was gone with that one sentence leaving her mouth. She knocked on my door a few times while I sat there leaning against the door, pretending I wasn’t in.

I drew my curtains and rolled into bed, praying that the end of the week would come sooner so I could go home. A common wish for me throughout this whole time.

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