My name is Nyanda and I am 34 years old. I work as a digital marketing manager for a real estate company in Florida. I was born and raised in Camden, New Jersey but I lived in Palm Springs for almost 12 years. I am a hardworking; ambitious, strong-willed woman and I love challenges. My parents are both Jamaican and I grew up on a small beach town in New Jersey, the home of the Scone Pony Bakery – Spring Lake. I have been in an interracial relationship for 16 years now and this is my love story.
The Start of my Everything
When I was 18, I worked in a diner downtown. I was juggling between school and my part time job because I wanted to earn extra money for school. Also, I was saving up at that time to buy my boyfriend an anniversary present. His name is Stephen; a reserved and preppy white American boy who lived just a few blocks away from my home. I met him at a friend’s 18th birthday.
Many people are very interested in knowing how we met because looking at the both of us, it is clear that we come from different worlds and that we probably share little in common by way of background. This was especially the case at that time we started dating because when a white guy is having a romantic relationship with a black woman, you become an instant hot topic in town. But we couldn’t care less. Stephen and I didn’t let our race origin or cultural differences define our love. And that’s the kind of understanding we both had that made our relationship grow stronger every step of the way. But I wish everyone shared that kind of thinking, but sadly that was not the case.
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger
I grew up on a very small town where almost everyone is your friend. Everybody knew who’s who and pretty much everyone’s aware of the slightest gossip there was. I didn’t have many white friends and I mostly hung out with other black people due to circumstance rather than choice. So when my family learned about my relationship with Stephen, it wasn’t easy at all. I was fighting for our love on a daily basis and I had to endure all the prejudicial remarks from my parents and relatives. They questioned my sanity for entertaining a white guy. And even went as far as calling my relationship with Stephen a taboo and mentioned something about how my ancestors would be rolling in their graves; I rolled my eyes at these statements. In fact, there were so many times that I had to skip dinner and just lock myself in my room while crying on my pillow all night. I also lost the number of times when I had to intentionally miss family gatherings because I couldn’t take their hurtful words anymore. It was annoyingly exhausting and hurting me so much because these were people close to me.
Love is supposed to be a good thing – that’s how I define love. But I didn’t realize that being in an interracial relationship could be this difficult. When we were dating, we constantly received stares from people, especially from people of color. They looked at us like we were some kind of freaks. And I admit, I got intimidated sometimes.
But never for a second did I ever think about giving up on our relationship. Aside from my determination, I am also a lucky woman to have a very understanding and supportive boyfriend, I knew that he also had his fair share of ridiculous judgment from his family and friends but I never saw him falter for a moment. We both struggled but we had each other, and for me that was more than enough.
Love Is Strong When It’s Real
Now, after 16 years of this wonderful interracial relationship, we are happily married with two kids. A lot of things have changed but sadly social stigmas and prejudice still persist. So, for all men and women in an interracial relationship who are still struggling, never give up! Don’t let the world affect you. For as long as you love each other, your love will always prevail!