Ever since I was young I was taught to speak softly about my opinions and fall in line. It was easier that way.
Growing up I knew I had always existed outside of the lines.
When I was in kindergarten I hit a kid once because he told me that princesses weren’t strong enough to take over the castle, that princesses needed boys to protect them. As a lil baby I wasn’t taught yet how to deal with this type of gender adversity so I did the only thing I could think to do: punch him in the face.
In middle school I openly resented my science teacher for making a joke out of a sexual harassment lesson and using very confusing and unclear euphemisms to teach our class about sex and human genitalia. My teacher embodied everything wrong with the southern sex education system and fully embraced her responsibility in shaming children into avoiding sex at all costs.
Growing up I was mocked and made fun of because I wasn’t as smart as my other Asian counter-parts. I was repeatedly reminded of how far from their expectations I was because I didn’t know any square roots off the top of my head in elementary school, because I wasn’t any kind of instrumental prodigy, because math was the only class I hated in school.
The first time I ever had any kind of outburst during school was recently: after attending a 15 minute teacher-parent conference my mom told me that she was so angry and surprised and…proud of me. Proud that I was confident enough in myself to stand up and challenge the status quo….except I needed to learn better ways to get those feelings across.
Despite my entire life’s bombardments telling me to be submissive and weak to any kind of adversities simply because of my race and the gender I was assigned at birth I still rose to the challenge and raised my fisticuffs at life.
I’d like to believe that we can all rise up against our adversities and challenge our own stereotypes by doing what you love and following cultural traditions that you alone enjoy instead of living your life for others and to please others.