“Never Judge Charlene’s Inner Tomboy”
Hello, my name is Charlene. I’m writing out in my online blog a story of the early years of my life. As many can count in today’s society, young teens and adults want to fit into a specific group and role standpoint. We must understand that it left behind an impact on their lives and how it affected and changed them as a person today. What would be a suitable example for me? I can remember it in precise detail. Most would know the common feeling of students desiring to fit in their academic environment. This is an all-around type of feeling many can say they’ve related all too well. I felt this big time when I was younger, time traveling back to the days of middle school. Those were the years when we slowly build maturity as kids and adults already find them readily in cliques of others that appeal to their better standards. In my case, it wasn’t easy trying to find the right people to be close to through and through, as I know, you can have good mutuals, but sometimes they don’t click in for too long.
Let’s start back in the center of elementary and middle school. I was known as the shy quiet kid who didn’t feel “in one place in the others” to put it frankly. Of course, I’ve had my few best friends which helped me not feel alone, which helped boost my emotional self-esteem considerably. I was always kind and respectful to others, but this didn’t mean I was not subject to being judged due to how “meek, soft, quiet, and crybabyish” I appeared, especially to the boys in my class back in the day. That was when I learned that kids can be just as cruel as adults with sheer words. It wasn’t easy being the butt of the joke to them, especially since some of the athletic bunch of guys were not the nicest to me as you may expect if you were quiet, shy, and slightly sensitive. “She’s always quiet, and too sensitive to play a game with us”, “I don’t like her.”, and the typical immature boy responses that they like to make are “You’re pretty”, or “You’re ugly.” Flattery may have come at the former, but their personalities back then were what I would’ve said the latter to them. It very much came to bite me during my year of fourth grade when one performing arts teacher humiliated me in front of my peers, and it sent me straight to tears. The guys think it’s just hilarious that I’m not as flexible as the other girls. The girls comforted me while I endured this.
But try as I may in my naive years, I wanted to radiate that exact wavelength of energy they radiated when they played sports, such as basketball. I was and am to this day, a tomboy, which I liked having with slight playful roughhousing and “boyish” sports. I was a bit sportier than most of the girls in my class, showing I wasn’t as “girly/weak” or any further derogatory synonyms the guys assumed girls were, to which they sometimes allowed me to play in their basketball games at recess after being mildly impressed of my sporty spunk.
A quote I can relate to from Martinez Aja’s “Alejandra Writes a Book: A Critical Race Counterstory about Writing, Identity, and Being Chicanx in the Academy.” is “So she knew the few toys she did have would probably not be very impressive to the others, and she also couldn’t think of a single toy she owned that truly qualified as special and something only she had.” Martinez, Aja. “Alejandra Writes a Book: A Critical Race Counterstory about Writing, Identity, and Being Chicanx in the Academy.” Praxis: A Writing Center Journal, vol.14, no. 1, 2016, http://www.praxisuwc.com/martinez-141. To which to put it in my own words, the “toys”, were the past meek personality traits I abided by and how I also didn’t feel like it would be impressive to others around me back in the day, which took a slight jab at my self-esteem for a little while.
For a counteractive part of my story here, I want to point to the moment I got jabbed at for being a kind tomboy who may not be flexible, loves playing occasional sports, and is recognized as someone of the opposite gender who can be just as good. Through these times, I’ve learned to tolerate negative verbal comments and do what I like to do to have fun. With my friends’ support, I learned to embrace that other half of me, of being a person with a fondness for one activity most would not favor, and that is okay. I’ve garnered the most recognition from most of my past classmates whenever we played in gym class, especially in kickball competitions, to which I showed my agile running and good kicking skills. “Woah! She’s fast!”, “Go Charlene go!”, those were the cheering comments I’d gotten as I led my team in a round. Some of my peers admired my sportiness, while others gawked at me strangely for showing them that a girl like myself is more than what they presumed to be in their eyes. Another quote from Martinez Aja’s “Alejandra Writes a Book: A Critical Race Counterstory about Writing, Identity, and Being Chicanx in the Academy.” is “So,” Dr. Kent continued, “I’m well aware that not all of my students are equipped to handle the language, and with your own ESL background—”
Alejandra blinked and shook her head. Did she hear him correctly? Did he just say she was an ESL student? Did he just say her writing was not at the A level because he assumed English was her second language (Flores and Rosa)? ESL.”Martinez, Aja. “Alejandra Writes a Book: A Critical Race Counterstory about Writing, Identity, and Being Chicanx in the Academy.” Praxis: A Writing Center Journal, vol.14, no. 1, 2016, http://www.praxisuwc.com/martinez-141. With this quote relating to this matter, I’ve endured and taken the banter with a grain of salt and learned to brush off those stereotypes and jabs with gradual patience and growth. “Never be someone you’re not, only yourself is more than unique amongst the rest.”, my mom always said, and she is always right as I look back at this now as an adult.
In conclusion, these stories about my past struggle of wanting to fit in, and eventually learning through the advice of my close ones that you are yourself and you do what makes you happy minus what others stereotyped you to be, have helped me grow as a person today. It doesn’t matter who or what gender you are, and if you like this specific type of activity that one group favors, you should go for it no matter the gawks and negative verbal comments you get. This is a life lesson I’ve learned to do with support on the way, but also to myself as I grow in the present time. Finally, don’t feel the need to be only one half of yourself just to fit in one specific group, be yourself and that is all that counts because you, yourself, are one in a million.