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In TV show’s, books or in music I hear about how people may feel judged by society crudely or do not feel accepted by the outer world. Sometimes not by their families, either, but what if you feel accepted by the world but not by your family? Like you think one way and they shove you en route of their dreams, passions and desires? They decide you will be a doctor. They decide that you will eventually provide for the family. They decide that you will have a big birthday party every year. They decide how you dress. They decide that you do not know how to dress-even though they told you to ‘express yourself’.
And you are always being told how you eat too much. Do you want to be fat? You eventually become so accustomed to this comment that you don’t notice and you accept your weight-after all you are not obese according to your doctor, not even to the world. You are one of the smallest in school and you feel confident in yourself. Isn’t that what people want? Confidence in their own skin. At least that’s what movies seem to convey to me…from Hairspray to Precious being confident and loving yourself is what really counts, right? And for a good while, you believe this subconsciously until they begin to take it to a vulgar level…your now “greedy as Hell!” and “…want to be a fat ass…”. But the worst is when the If I were you’s emerge and you notice that the amazing confidence in yourself and the comfort you had in your safe haven (home), are dissolving into the thin air.
So now you have been told to do this and wear that and believe this and most importantly you want this. But when you finally develop your own sense of worth, want and desires, you start to contradict all that they have taught you.
No, I don’t want to be a doctor, but a “starving artist”. And No, I don’t want those shoes, I want the unique ones beside them. And No, I want to have a small group of friends together for my birthday, not a huge shin-dig. And no, I don’t plan on providing for the family, I may not even be able to provide for myself. But even though you’ve attempted a legit defense mechanism and stand up for yourself, you still realize a part of you still isn’t satisfied…somewhere in your heart you are still in pain and you don’t want to accept why.
You don’t want to accept that the person that hurts you the most, you simply want to love you. You don’t want to admit that no matter what harsh word you write about her, or the way you talk about her that you only want her to say the four words she never utters in honesty.
You’re the firstborn, the smart one, the one everyone can count on. Teachers, friends, strangers…everyone has told you, that you are talented. So why doesn’t it make you happy?
Then, to solve some problems, at the dinner table, you are afraid to eat too much. You don’t want to go through the wrath of how fat or greedy you are, so you stop eating with them all together. Why put yourself through it? You accept that the only times you will be able to fearlessly eat are at school during lunch with your friends, who are not the greatest but at least won’t judge you as harshly (as far as you know!). Then you eat on Wednesday evenings at church with friends as well, and your confidence surges to a climax. You feel so safe and free, but then it crumbles and disappears when, you get home and they say to you, in reference to how you ate at church: “You really shouldn’t put so much butter on your bread, those are a lot of calories...”
Then you feel something inside of you drop, and you realize it’s your heart. Instead of beating lively inside of your chest, it’s fallen to your feet and it oozing out from beneath your toenails. You feel like you’ve lost a part of you now. Like you have lost your worth…and somehow you’ll have to grow It back. A water deprived plant, unnoticeable in the soil, you will have to water and nourish it back to life. Eventually after it roots have set in it will sprout to be seen by the naked eye which cannot comprehend it’s unseen worth.
But a plant can’t grow where it will be kicked and destroyed every time it begins to grow. It needs to be somewhere it can thrive in its own progression. The plant deserves to be enthusiastic about the sun, crave the moon and enjoy the breeze. Every plant deserves to have a place they can thrive and exceed expectations. And I thank them for finding my place.
You took me as a gift (I don’t know if it was for you and you wanted to use me as an excuse for going) but it was much more than that. The place you took me to made me feel like a person who wouldn’t be judged too harshly, because there were so many other people, so why would anyone pay so much attention to me? I remember the sights you insisted on showing me. The Empire State Building…Julliard...Times Square…Chinatown…were all marvelous unforgettable sights but none compared to the sight I made for myself.
I remember the day I walked the two blocks all by myself. I remember feeling flabbergasted, enthralled, disbelieving and excited among many other emotions, but I also felt at ease. I felt accepted as I walked; my confidence rising with every step I took further away. I will never forget the way it smelled of possibilities; the sights of inspirations; and the sounds of my own feet hitting the concrete.
I recall feeling like my true essence was returning, and I was no longer a sad, misunderstood and mistreated, soul. But I was a person. For exactly 30 minutes I was a person on the street, with people I did not know, who did not know me and I was fine with that. I wasn’t the fat, greedy, disappointing, slow, stupid, unnaturally shy, mediocre person I would be when I returned to them. I was the standard of what I wanted to be…and contrary to what they thought, I was proud of me.
I just wish they were too.