"Christina you're always so happy and I thought you were this preppy little girl who got everything you wanted, all these scholarships, and got to study abroad. I really had no idea."
I don't know about you, but I've learned that people love to place their expectations and create their own narratives about me.
It's been happening since I was a little girl, but in college it got worse. "I'm surprised you're not in the Honors Program." "When I first met you, you were so nice that it was scary because I wondered if it was fake." "I expected you to come on campus and take over then when you got here BOOM..you did nothing."
There's one incident that replays in my mind everyday.
I came back to school this year with a car. I was having this conversation about life with someone that led to me talking about how I got the car and suddenly they looked at me with such surprise and said "Christina you're always so happy and I thought you were this preppy little girl who got everything you wanted, all these scholarships, and got to study abroad. I really had no idea." That person's intentions weren't to make me feel any type of way, they were genuinely surprised.
The surprise came from assuming that my parents fund my lifestyle, thus meaning that they had to have bought me this car. But nope, while most kids were enjoying learning how to drive at 15 I knew that I had to start saving up for the car I would have to buy myself because I couldn't depend on my parents to get one for me, just like I really can't depend on them for anything. My 15 year old mindset hasn't proved me wrong. So I saved up for 4 years to buy the car I drive now. FOUR YEARS. It's nothing fancy, but it's mine.
That situation replays in my mind everyday because it just confirms how many people assume things about me without even knowing or care to know the real story. That's what makes it hard for me to open up because do I let them have their narratives, or do I constantly defend myself in a world that doesn't care? People simply don't know me and that's okay until it's not okay.
I use to literally pray that people would get to know me before judging me at first sight, but you know what? That's not my problem anymore.
It's not my problem that people choose to assume rather than ask.
When people usually first meet me they seem to have this image placed in their head that I have everything together. That I know the answers to everything and I'm so "on track" in life and I'm not gonna lie I used to be really flattered until as time goes on and I let them in my life, and my flaws become exposed, they use it against me in a way.
"You're so lucky that you haven't had to take out loans because of your scholarships." is what they see, but what they didn't see is all the long nights I had to stay up researching, crying, putting together packets hoping my story was good enough for a couple of thousand dollars that made the difference between if I was going to college or if I wasn't. I'm not "lucky". I busted my ass for EVERYTHING I have and I mean everything.
I actually had a family member tell me that I was too privileged LOL.
The point is it doesn't really matter what people say about you because they don't know you and there's beauty in that. On the outside, it looks like I'm this young black queen who has her whole life ahead of her and all these great things happen to me, but that's only because I don't show the struggle. Note to myself: Christina it's okay to talk about the struggle. There is beauty in the struggle.
That's where my mind is today.