I always feel safe, like I can be myself, when someone else opens up. Meaning, I feel like if I share something personal it will help us both be more comfortable. So here it is, one of my biggest regrets, something I openly weep at whenever I think about. Are you ready? Okay, so in third grade I had this best friend; we were basically glued at the hip for all of elementary school. We’ll call her Skylar. My class was going on a field trip, so we were picking chaperone groups. This girl I was kind of friends with, Brenna, was picking her group and chose me and Skyler. I was excited because I wanted to become better friends with Brenna, but due to a few outside influences, my excitement went away.
Skylar and I started talking and we cultivated the idea that Brenna’s mom was the woman we often saw walking around the school smoking. (Eek I’m such an awful person…) We went to our teacher after school and asked her to change our group. I remember so distinctly walking up to her and saying, “I know Brenna put us in her group, but we’re uncomfortable being with her mom.” While, in retrospect, this was actually a pretty gutsy thing for thrid grade me to do, I hate myself for it. What could my teacher have thought? What did she tell Brenna? Ugh, I get a headache thinking about it. Even worse, when we showed up to school the morning of the field trip, Skylar and I saw Brenna’s mom. She was wearing a gorgeous floral maxi dress and a sun hat. We then realized, she wasn’t the woman we thought. (What a plot twist, right?)
That story may seem insignificant and stupid to you, but it reminds me of how sheltered and judgmental I was as a kid, and how I still am now. I judged Brenna’s mom because she smoked. 9 year old me thought that that made her a bad person. Even worse, some of the snap judgments I made, and stereotypes I formed still guide some decisions I make now. (I know how incredibly awful it seems, but it isn’t anything insane.) No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to shake these common stereotypes. It’s insane how ideas we form when we are young stick with us our entire lives.
P.S. B, if you happen to be reading this I’m so sorry