Staring out my window at the snow covered trees right now
I've been thinking about THIS CHALLENGE for a while, created by @anutu. (one of our amazing @welcomewagon grads!) Some challenges are silly and fun, and are easy to sit down and write. Others make you take your time, consider, weigh, and plan out exactly what you want to share.
It took me some time to choose which memory I wanted to share. This one still stings a little bit, but now, less so.
I grew up as a mixed child in an almost all-white community. It's funny, but seeing out of my eyes, I only really saw white children all around me. And so, as a child, for a long time, I thought I was white too. Our perspective shapes our perception, right @shadowspub? I thought I was the same. It's funny - my mother used to make these FABULOUS Halloween costumes. They were so ornate that kids used to come up and shake my hand and hug me - thinking that I WAS the character. Everyone was so in awe of these costumes, but I just wanted the cheap, plastic costumes that everyone else had. I didn't want to stand out. I didn't want to be different. I just wanted to blend in.
I had always been a compliant child. Top of the class. Striving to succeed (really - exceed) at everything. Always pleasant. Always helpful. One of those "golden" children. My mother often used the term "pure" to describe me, much to the dismay of my younger siblings. I didn't mind being a good kid. I preferred it. Somewhere deep inside my heart, I innately knew that I was playing with less than a full deck, and also knew that I needed all the help I could get. If I could just get people to see the real me - beyond what they saw initially, then I could win them over. Their pre-judgments would fall away, and I would prove that I was worthwhile.
One day, I was with a group of kids - about 25 of them. I was the only one who didn't have fairer skin. The kids didn't seem to notice. That's the way it can be with kids. You were just another person to have fun, cause trouble, or if they were lucky - both. Blue, green, tall, short, poor, rich, handicapped...different - really didn't matter when trouble was involved. If you were causing havoc along with them, you were alright.
I was on the outskirts of the trouble, really. As I already mentioned, I really didn't like putting myself at risk. I had worked hard for the reputation I had earned, and it always seemed a strange thing to toss away something for a moment of thrill, when it had taken years to achieve. I felt like I could be in the group and really have nothing to do with the trouble, while still maintaining enough of a presence to be able to conspiratorially laugh about it later.
As usually happens, kids and trouble go too far. When the jig was up, the security guards were called. Out of the 25 children - the man never took his eyes off of me as he was threatening the group. It was probably one of those experiences where kids fight back disrespectful grins while rolling their eyes at once another, mocking the "rent-a-cop" who could do very little with is limited authority. That's what the moral of the story was for the others: He has no power over us.
For me? It was a very different take-away.
Before you get too melancholy, I'd like to tell you that this is only part 1 of the story. It was just a significant part of my life where I realized that we are visual people, and recognized what that meant for me. Our first impressions are usually based on what we see. We have a lot of learned responses that are based on our environment - good and bad. In a way, it was a sad realization for me. However, in another way, it was a very freeing moment. If they were going to always see skin first, I didn't have to try so hard anymore. It would take years for me to fully understand the balance of who I am, what people perceive, and how I respond to that. However, having an understanding of your identity begins with embracing all that affects you and then determining what is true, what is not, what you believe, and what you apply.
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Very nice post, @dreemsteem
I think it's difficult to look out of someone elses eyes at a particular experience. From the outside, it looks like________.
To give an example, being so shy, I was often perceived from the outside to be stuck-up...however, from my inside view looking at others from the outside, I thought I was not liked. For the most part, I was liked and had a lot of friends - but it is interesting how a negative experience or a negatively perceived experience can cause so much unnecessary grief.
Knowing who we are from the inside is so important - unfortunately, as children we are just discovering this for ourselves...building our lives and who we are one experience at a time.
Yes... So true.
Unfortunately this wasn't the only experience I had (or conversations I overheard) regarding my skin color. I'd say it happened at least 2-3 times a week... Throughout my childhood. Some people didn't know any better. Some people saw no harm in terms they would use. But some were downright hateful. This particular memory was just the one that stood out, where I finally stopped trying so hard to be a people pleaser. (Still kinda am... Hahaha but not nearly as bad as I once was lol)
Even as an adult... My family (hubby and kids who are all fair skinned) thought I was always looking for something that wasn't there.
Until we tested it and sadly, they saw I was right.
(Like getting seated consistently in certain places of the restaurant when I was there... Vs when I would wait outside until they were seated. And this was as recent as 5 years ago. People who think we are living in different times are only partially right)
The thing is...now... As an adult, it doesn't bother me anymore.
But that's for part 2. Hehe
Well, I for one, only see the heart in a person - how they treat others.
We do live in a society that labels unfortunately but I see this also in the animal kingdom. However, the hateful side of human nature....mmmm When I moved from Wash. DC to the deep south, I must have had a gang of girls after me to beat me up almost every week - bullying is what it was - for being a yankee or because of this or that which had very little to who I was. I think that if there is something different about you, especially if it is something good, human nature seems to want to tamp that down. It's a huge lesson to learn when you are put in the position of directed hate or bullying - you can either sink or learn to swim using your own inner strength and light.
It's very unfortunate that you had these directed hateful comments and behavior directed towards you. I look forward to reading your part 2
I've always been a swimmer 😉
And yes.... Different scares a lot of people. Not sure where it starts. Not everyone is like that
Maybe it takes BEING different to see it's not so bad? Hehehe or...even having a loved one that is different. Some reason... Some motivation to look beyond?
I'm glad that some can learn though. I used to think that I was the one who needed to teach others how to be.
But that was really exhausting. Lol it never ended.
Now I just be.
If people want to learn, great. If not... Sadly, it's their loss.
And I know exactly who you are miss. Hehehe it's why I hunted you down for WW ♥️
You and so many others. The love was evident
YOU have been featured in the official Welcome Wagon Digest!
official WWWD No.12
Have a most wonderful day!
The official Welcome Wagon Weekly Digest Team