As Rachel Dolezal tells it in her new book, she has always colored pictures of herself with a brown crayon — not with a peach-colored one and certainly not with a white one.

And as the white girl with freckles and blond hair transformed herself into a woman who identified as black, with frizzy hair and bronzed skin, the brown crayon began to take over.

“I felt less like I was adopting a new identity and more like I was unveiling one that had been there all along,” Dolezal says, according to the Root, which excerpted parts of the book. “Finally able to embrace my true self, I allowed the little girl I’d colored with a brown crayon so long ago to emerge.”

It’s unclear whether the crayon metaphor — detailed in her book, “In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World,” which comes out April 4 — will be enough to quell the antipathy of people who believed Dolezal colored too far out of the lines.

That list includes people who claimed she capitalized on “blackness” while growing up with all the privilege of whiteness.

In the book, she claims her racial identity even took a toll on her marriage. She wrote that she was “too black” for her black husband, who wanted her to act whiter, according to the Root.

In 2015, Dolezal taught African studies at Eastern Washington University and was the president of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the NAACP. She passed as a light-skinned black woman, lying on documents and on social media. She checked “African American” on an application for a public position in Spokane and posted a picture on her Facebook page of herself standing next to a black man she claimed was her father.

He wasn’t. And Dolezal’s real, white parents went on national television to tell the world that their daughter was not black and had been lying. In an interview on ABC, they even cried foul about her story of coloring with the brown crayon.

She was home-schooled, they said, and the crayon was white. She’d grown up with blond hair and freckles in Troy, Mont.

She was ultimately outed in an interview with ABC affiliate KXLY that she ended abruptly when asked, “Are you African American?”

As The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart wrote:

A white person identifying strongly with African Americans and African American culture is not a problem at all. The more the merrier in understanding who we are and our place in this nation’s history.
A white person running a chapter of the NAACP is not a problem, either. That’s someone so down with the cause that they are putting their time, energy and clout into public activism on behalf of fellow Americans. But a white person pretending to be black and running a chapter of the NAACP is a big problem.

In a Monday interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis, Dolezal said that when she began to identify as black, she didn’t feel she was being dishonest.

“It didn’t feel like a lie, for sure,” she said. “It felt like a true representation of who I am and what I stand for. … I stand on the black side of issues, philosophically, politically, socially, and for me to not check that box, I felt like would be some sort of betrayal of not only who I am, but also the community I affiliate with.”

Since her public shaming, she told the Associated Press, she has been unable to find steady work. She resigned as the head of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP and was booted from a police ombudsman position. She lost her teaching job, too.

“I was presented as a con and a fraud and a liar,” Dolezal told the AP, adding that she had changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo in part to improve her chance of getting a job. “I think some of the treatment was pretty cruel.”

Her infamy had made employers hesitant to hire her, she said. She sold artwork and braided hair for money. And now, the book.

In detail, Dolezal recounted coloring her skin from a young age, according to the Grio.

“I’d stir the water from the hose into the earth … and make thin, soupy mud, which I would then rub on my hands, arms, feet, and legs,” Dolezal states in her book.

“I would pretend to be a dark-skinned princess in the Sahara Desert or one of the Bantu women living in the Congo … imagining I was a different person living in a different place was one of the few ways … that I could escape the oppressive environment I was raised in.”

In the excerpts, she says she found solace in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” a 1971 novel by Ernest Gaines.

The book chronicles the African American story from Reconstruction onward. Its namesake protagonist is a black girl who was born a slave.

But critics say Gaines’s coming-of-age story has another similarity with Dolezal’s life as a black woman.

It is a work of fiction.

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