And he thought this was funny…
So today my cousin had a housewarming party for the extended family and there were maybe 30 people who came.
I didn’t know about it until this very morning… but it was nice.
This past week was the third anniversary of my great-aunt’s death and her death really affected me. I never really understood the feeling of someone you love who’s gone until she died. Because before this, I was too young to understand. She had three daughters and two of the daughters and their families live in another city. I haven’t seen them in THREE YEARS, the same amount of time my great-aunt has been gone. I guess there were some bad ties between the family since the death… I don’t know no one tells me anything. (Let’s go back to the fact that I didn’t even know of this housewarming party until this morning) The whole “beef” (yes, beef. Lol I don’t know any other word that outmatches that) thing I guess created the distance in our whole extended family. But I guess everything is forgiven now?
Their kids though. Like when I last saw those kids, they were all so small… smaller than me. Now, they’re all tall and stuff. They even intimidated me. But my one cousin who is one of the ones I haven’t seen was really nice. He hugged me as soon as he walked in. TIME REALLY DOES CHANGE YOU. Most of those kids were unrecognizable. I still can’t put a face to the youngest sister because SHE’S ALL GROWN UP. My cousins were there and they hugged me and made small talk.
And the food. Yes, the food deserves its own section. Because I was hungry and I didn’t eat any breakfast between going to church and going to the party. It was a great feeling once it was time to eat.
I haven’t been with this same family (my mom’s side) since like December. It was nice. I’m not gonna lie, there were deep moments of anxiety (because no, it really doesn’t stop when you’re with loved ones) but it was a balance.
But something that made me feel horrible?
There was this Indian elder who I didn’t know. I don’t think he was a family member, maybe just a family friend.
So when I was getting food, he was behind me in the line. I. Was. Getting. Food. And he says “Do you usually not talk a lot?” I was getting food, man. Who and why would I be talking when I’m getting food? And it’s not like he was starting a conversation with me, he came out of nowhere saying that to me. I didn’t even realize he was next to me until he said something. I’m thinking about my food, okay? I haven’t eaten anything all day. Please, leave me alone.
I agreed, saying I don’t talk a lot. Because I don’t, I guess. Hi, social anxiety. He laughed at that? I didn’t find it funny.
Then I’m eating my food and everyone’s outside on the porch. I didn’t even realize I was sitting next to the same person… I was too mesmerized by the food. Then as this elder gets up to throw away his food he says, and I quote,
“So… you don’t talk and you don’t eat?”
He was literally sitting next to me, could have been watching the food transport from mah fork to mah mouth. And he thinks it’s his place to say that? Did. You. Not. See. Me. Put. The. Food. In. My. Mouth? Since he was commenting on it, he should have seen it. AND when he sad that my plate was halfway empty/full (is the cup half full or empty? hmm) BUT I WAS STILL EATING.
And trust me, I have been bothered with these fucking stereotypes and generalizations all my damn life.
I get it, I’m quiet. I know why now, right? And when I was younger, I was as skinny as a twig, but I don’t look that way anymore. I like my body now. Finally.
But as a kid, these two things were always brought up in conversation with my extended family. No, they didn’t wanna talk about school, life, my damn well-being. They wanted to know why I was so skinny.
There were times I didn’t even want to go out to these family parties because I didn’t want to be looked at like a label anymore. That’s how much it affected and wrecked me.
This is “regular” for Indians. I’m not sure about other families… but for Indians, they’re all up in your business and they don’t care if they hurt you or not. They say what’s on their mind without thinking twice about it. Without thinking that saying stuff like that actually hurts.
Like I don’t already look in the mirror trying to find beauty in my petite stature which never seems to change no matter how much I eat.
Or I don’t already silently die inside anytime my anxiety comes into play and social interaction makes me feel physically, emotionally, and mentally uncomfortable.
What did I do when he said that?
As soon as he said “So” I knew it was going to make me mad.
As soon as he said what he said I didn’t smile or laugh I just looked down and he laughed. I did not laugh at all. I didn’t find it funny. It wasn’t. I don’t get what he found funny the first time or second. Usually, I just have to brush it aside when it comes to stuff like this because why would I want to make a scene in front of everyone? I wouldn’t. But as soon as he said that I wanted to retaliate. I wanted to say “Did you not see me eat?” or “That’s really not funny.” Or I wanted someone to hear him and not think it’s okay. But I knew that if someone heard it they wouldn’t stand up for me, they would just agree with him.
Trust me, I don’t like talking about adults like this. But he crossed a line. A line I thought I was over.
It took me a long time to accept myself for who I am. To actually look in the mirror and love myself. Because I KNEW no one would completely stop making comments about my weight or “quietness.” Knowing that I had to accept myself and move on stronger.
So far, so good. It hasn’t been a problem for a few years. But there are moments when times like these are like old triggers and I go back to the little girl I was.
So confused as to why being quiet was seen as weird and why everyone was talking about my weight.
And I can never stand up for myself because if I did I would be seen as the “child” who doesn’t know any better. Plus, I would probably cry making my point.
It’s just not fair. Why do they always have to pick on me like I need a label?
Do I have to apologize for the person I am? No.
I eat. I am healthy. I love food, in fact, it’s on my list of loves.
I talk. With people I like/love and can vibe with. If I don’t then I’m in my thoughts, is that so bad? I don’t like talking in crowds.
What. Is. So. Wrong. With. That?
But the thing that bothers me the most is that this man didn’t know me for more than 10 seconds. Yet, he took out 2 of my worst labels that I’ve struggled with in those 10 seconds and brought me back to the pain of labels. Back to that scared little girl who thought in order for the labels to stop she had to fit their “image” of self-acceptance and not her own.
And I can never be “chill” about that.
How is it okay for someone, even an adult, to ask that? I have no idea.