If you were to see me in real life, and if I were to do nothing but smile at you, would you already have a predetermined misconception of me? Perhaps something along the lines that are docile and nice – I suspect this Asian stereotype thing has something to do with it.
Today I had to watch a very emotional presentation by the Abbotsford police on abusive use of ecstasy at my school. They featured two teenagers whom both police officers had personally known; the two had one year from a few days before today and in the 22nd of december died because of their overdose. Now, it is needless to say there are plenty of much better quality and well-informed documentations regarding teen use of drugs, but for me I just wanted to point out the irony in what I saw of the two deceased teen’s friends and family member.
They were normal looking people. Attractive. People I probably would have judged – party hard, snobs, jocks, snooty popular girls, any selfish terrible thoughts; hence disliked.
But they had a history.
They looked like people who I usually avoid. Just for my social uncomfortableness. The louder, well-liked, popular, grouped kids that joined teams and joked around in class. Today I sat with a few similar boys in my class, whom I’d never though I’d ever share a laugh with, but I did. They were not rude, they did not judge me, did not ridicule me because of my race or age or the fact that I never spoke to them before. In fact, they were probably the most accepting people I’ve found in this entire school. So what had they been previously guilty of in my head to receive a faulty penalty?
— After the presentation we were asked to slowly exit the theater and each given a chance to share a handshake or hug with our fellow young peers on stage. I’d like to add beforehand that I had always had a bad image of people I dub playful obnoxious. I simply don’t like them – they deserve the consequences right? They knew, saw it coming ( well godamn that concept just doesn’t cut it when I get a bad grade though ) But I never cared enough to comment, cause, who cares right ( or maybe because I don’t want to be criticized for being what people my age would call lame ). But near the end of the video shown above ( and please do watch, it’s 18 mins of your time and definitely well worth it ) I started to cry, despite the large gathering of audiences, for this young teenager’s poem speaking of his feelings after his best friend’s death. I cried, not just tear-tear, but such a dramatic rush that my friends thought I had gone mad. He was a senior. A well-built young man, lean, attractive and never would’ve been suspected of being capable of such emotion, depth and honesty into his work. Beyond his strikingly pure words, it was the fact that his voice was cracking, and sobering and desperate to continue on. And it kept going, in a none wavering way, regardless of it’s precarious faltering form. And I absolutely adore and admire him for doing that. I gave him a hug and I told him his poem was awesome. And out of all the young peers I interacted with, I felt he was the most genuine when he said , Thank you, that means a lot, and gave this gravely humbling smile. He learned his lesson.
Then watching his example, trying to learn myself, I decided to talk to an adult there about the fact that my cousin has decided to start blazing. Which I found out is smoking marijuana – of which is also often laced with meth to make the experience all the more addictive. If you had read my previous post of ‘Sexy Can I’ then you might recall the part about indulging in certain activities with ‘safe’ people. Hell all the teenagers on stage today had been drugging up with their best friends too. They thought they were safe. Same dealer, same drug. My cousin does too. And though I cannot change her mind with coerce, I do hope that if I were to bring up this topic, with the courage that I lacked before when she had previously confessed this, be able to somewhat convince her to make her own decision to stop it. It’s not fun. It’s not worth it. Imagining her on the hospital bed embedded with tubes, in exchange for her to get high for a few hours? It was all a set back for my father’s death.
Now if you were to look at her, same as me, you might also think nice things. But see, you never know. One of us does partying and explores drug use and one of us doesn’t. Neither of us having extreme body arts, or piercings. But if you were to look at someone who had such an unique and expressive form, what would be your first impression? Funny how society warps your view. But I’m not in any way trying to compare my cousin and I to make one out as the bad guy because I know so much more to her then to bring myself to judge her as I would any random stranger. Cept for the fact that, you’d never have guessed. Because the way we look, act, speak, are naturally categorized by society and associated in your mind with something nice.
In hindsight, I thought of a young man that had shared the school bus with me last year. He was a BASE kids, more higher functioning, and really, just any other regular school kid. He turned around in his seat and told a joke. His eyes appeared to be bulging because of his thick glasses. Two enormous pearls of swirling blue-green that looked between me and my bus mate. His smile large and only more emphasized by his large teeth. He had told us a joke. But I had not laugh because I held the idea that I would not laugh with this kind of person. Then the girl beside me giggled. And then it felt alright to laugh. Why? Because someone ‘normal‘ , ‘higher-standarded‘ had laughed so now its okay for me to also express something genuine? I thought of him today, and I apologize.
So again, if you were to look at me, and I have not spoken yet. Had my first words been to confess I had gotten an C+ in math, would that surprise you? Or if I had said I do all of the terrible hard-core things known for teenagers, what would you immediately think then? I am constantly, and very pleasantly surprised by the well mannered greeting of a peculiarly dressed man, or authenticity of heavily tattooed/pierced people. When you think of them, what are those ‘kinds of people’ like, how did they come about like so.
Am I judged because I’m guilty by association?