Life experience ·3.2·
My personality and my attitude – A misconception II
Sometimes the most subtle things have the power to change your being as a whole
Now going back to the time in primary school, I want to tell you some stories.
During the first or second year of my primary school I was sitting next to a girl I thought I could be friends with, since we went to the same kindergarten. It was one-sided.
Well, making friends is not easy as I thought it to be.
I wished that I could have a friend, so that I wasn’t alone during the breaks, maybe feel safer. I would always ask her whether she wanted to play with me during break. I think I was pretty desperate, even pathetic.
One day she asked me if she could use my coloured pencils and I told her that she could use them if she spent her time with me during that day’s break. She agreed.
I ended up running after her, asking her to wait for me and after a while she ran off without me.
I think I was really desperate.
I met the most charming children on the schoolyard. There was a group of three boys I didn’t even know, who always cornered me, telling me I have ‘Schlitzaugen’ or calling ‘ching chang chong’ after me. Everyday I got to hear the good old Asian jokes.
Then there were some girls from another class, from another floor even, who confronted me out of nowhere and accusing me of stepping on one of the girls’ foot. I apologized even though I didn’t remember doing that, or her. Another boy, who wasn’t in my class, had fun at spitting on me occasionally.
Maybe you are asking yourself why I didn’t tell any of the teachers. I think that as long as it isn’t a big fist fight, leaving visible injuries, teachers don’t really see or notice this kind of subtle harassment. A way of harassment that will pile up bit by bit, time after time.
Subtle enough that nobody will notice. Subtle enough that they can say that it wasn’t a big deal. Subtle enough to be able to pretend that nothing happened.
I feel like many teachers or many adults in general don’t take this kind of bullying seriously, maybe they will even tell you that you are over reacting and being a drama queen. They will just tell your bullies not to do it again, that we should get along and then they will just leave it at that.
When a classmate tickled me, I didn’t like it at all and I told him to stop. He didn’t stop.
We had an art lesson after that incident and I went to my art teacher to tell her that he was tickling me even though I told him to stop.
She didn’t lecture him or tell him that it wasn’t okay to continue touching someone when they feel uncomfortable. Instead she told me, in front of everyone, that I shouldn’t be such a “snitch”.
The boy was grinning. I felt ashamed and I went back to my seat. This is one of the few things I still remember clearly. When I remember it today, I feel a quiet anger swelling up inside. Looking back at that situation now, I can see this so called ‘boys will be boys’-mentality. You have to let them be, because it is not your place to cause trouble in class. It is not your place to cause trouble in any situation at all. You should blend in, stay in the background and support your male counterparts. You have to be gentle, you have to be quiet and humble, you have to look pretty and behave the way a girl should behave. If you dare to speak up, you are rebellious, bossy, not willing to fit in (which is, from my perspective, a good thing). If a guy speaks up, he knows “what’s up”, he has the potential to become a leader.
That’s why I have always hated it when my mother told me to clean up or to dress more girly. She said that, since I am a girl I should do that, otherwise I will never get a guy to notice me and they will badmouth me if I don’t look pretty. My future boyfriend would get tired of me and he will look for someone else, someone prettier than me.
Would she still say those things to me if I were a guy? Sometimes I really wish I was a guy. Maybe that way I didn’t have to hear those things anymore.
Why should I dress up to please a guy? Why should I learn to cook to please a guy? Why should I know how to clean up to please a guy? Is life only worth living when you get noticed by the other gender?
I don’t think so.
I will live my life the way I think that it’s good for me. I will dress the way I want, I will become the person I want to be and if some guy is feeling threatened by that, then he might have to change his way of thinking.