Yes, it is a text again. I hope you don’t mind.
I am wondering about something. Sometimes for hours on end. It keeps me up during nights and haunts me at daytime. It creeps into my dreams, my mind, my thoughts, comments my daily behaviour, ruins moments. It is a simple, but redundant question. One that could be answered within a minute and with some act of thinking but it isn’t that easy at all.
What does this/that/those person think of me?
What do they see, when I walk down the street?
Do I seem as awkward/nice/unfriendly/naïve/gruesome/caring/creepy as I think I do?
Do they realize, that I am struggling on some days?
Do they realize that my English is not as good, as it should be? That I pronounce stuff awkward, stumble, fall, move awkwardly, can’t dance at all?
Do they realize how uncomfortable I am?
Do they realize how much of that rebellious attitude is actually just protection?
Do people on the streets see all those spots and marks, scratches, insecurities and scars?
To me, there are two kinds of people. The ones walking in groups, smiling, keeping their head high, looking safe and secure and strong and beautiful.
And the others.
We wear black, leather, studs and cut open jeans. We look to the ground when there isn’t enough rebellion left in us to shove it into their faces with every glance we throw at them, we keep our chin up, we are provocative, we are strange and might look like the promise of violence. We might shout abuse at someone when we are in a bad mood and something happened and we don’t want to get physical because it is all way to close and we most certainly don’t fit into your small town system. At all.
We are the ones with loud music and dark eyes.
We are the other side of things. The dark side if you want to.
No matter where we grow up, we are not ‘all the same kind of trash’ as some of you put it.
Some of us grow up in a decent environment, being handled with care at home or with neglect somewhere else.
Some of us were beaten. Some weren’t.
Some of us are all we have, some have lots to lose.
Some are gay, queer, trans, different, noisy, strange and strangers.
Some of us pretend to be something they’re not.
And some of us are exactly what we seem to be.
We are students, pupils, workers. We are the same as you are – but different.
We are the black parade on some days and the friendly voice at the other end of the line on others.
‘Institute for occupational health, good morning. How may I assist you?’
And they tell me, that I have a beautiful voice and take care of them so well and they hope to meet me when they have their appointment and then they arrive. And look at me with a strange mixture of bewilderment and curiosity.
Because I look nothing like the picture on my father’s desk. The one of my twelve-year-old self.
Because I wear black, colour my hair dark or red, colour my skin pale and my eyes black and still treat them nicely.
Because I am not what they expect and handle them professionally though still walking down the streets in a pitch black leather jacket with all those zippers and studs and occasionally glare at people walking past. Because I know what they are like, what they did to their children, to their wives, to their employees.
But this attitude doesn’t save me.
I am insecure and each time my mum tells me, that a patient talked to her about me I assume I did something wrong.
I assume they see everything. Me dropping something, me banging my head, me taking a little longer for some tasks, me still asking for guidance. And I apologize for that. Without end.
But they don’t.
They do realize that I am new, but just because I am not part of the usual staff. Because I appeared out of thin air and all the other Ladies are way older than I am. And less cynical.
They do realize that I am still in training. But just because the other medical assistants still explain some things to me.
They do realize I am the doctor’s daughter, but just because I carry his last name and have to introduce myself to stand up to professional standards.
They do know, that I am not perfect but they don’t actually care.
Some test me a little, some look at me a little longer, some refuse to be treated by ‘such a young thing’ but mostly they don’t care. They don’t realize how insecure I am. Because basically no one cares.
And if I am not directly talk to someone or write or something like that – no one actually realizes me.
My spots, the marks, scars, insecurities. They see the black clothes. They see the dark eyes and they don’t actually care. Because they have their own things to wonder about.
They talk to me if they have to, give me tissues, smile at me, help me out, ignore me, scorn or are repelled. But only if I let them.
I am not in danger. And maybe I should wear less black, be less rebellious and friendlier.
And I will be, if you let me.
I will take care of your child, when you lost it.
I will carry your groceries, when you can’t.
I will talk your child out of suicide, if it tells me.
I will treat you with upmost respect and help you through your sickness if you let me.
I will translate your wish to someone, if you need that. And I won’t do it without any kind of effort or protest. Because I am way friendlier than I seem to be and I have done all of that already.
But maybe I should start today with looking the way I am: hello, this is me. And I am glad to meet you.