You know that urge that you get, to scream back at a small child who is screaming at you? Not in a malicious or thoughtless way. Just in an “I’m tired and out of words” kind of way? That’s how I feel right now. I want to scream at the small child who’s screaming at me.
I realize it’s selfish of me, and I can’t say that I’m proud of it, but I’m just tired of the screaming. Tired of the loud noise that distracts me from my thoughts and my tasks at hand. Tired of the high pitched howl that is distracting me from myself – I’ve dulled out my own voice for far too long now.
For a long time now, part of me has felt that I wasn’t worth hearing. My thoughts and opinions weren’t wise enough or funny enough. To be honest, as a teenager, no one really cared much about hearing me. I was just a pretty face. A distraction for the boys and a source of insecurity for the girls. My voice, my heart, and who I am deep deep down became smothered by the desires of the world. I was just a pretty girl.
Reading this, I’m imagining you scoffing at me. “Hah! Like you’ve ever had a difficult life, you poor sad pretty girl.” And yet, as strange as it feels to say this, being a pretty girl has been difficult for me. Few people have seen me as anything else. And to this day, I struggle to be seen for who I am.
Every day I get labelled with stereotypes. In grade nine, one of the most beloved and respected teachers at my school nicknamed me “barbie” – a perfectly figured toy fashion doll who’s head is filled with plastic. I’ve also been labelled a dumb blonde, and occasionally by a few incredibly misguided people, as a slut.
Just last week for example, I mentioned to someone that I recently got a second job at Cactus Club (the restaurant). And even though I’ve known her for two years now, and we’ve had some heart to heart talks, she still put me in the pretty box. “Oh of course YOU work there. What, do you have to wear a bustier too?”
I want to be proud of my appearance without feeling the need to prove my intelligence to others. I want to be able to have real conversations with men, without having them tell me they love me after 10 minutes (true story). I want to be seen for who I am, not for what I look like.
And so in this moment, and in many more to come, I’m screaming at the small children of the world who are putting me in the “pretty comma brainless” box.