This Is Me

Ashley - Chester, Virginia
Entered on November 19, 2007

I’ve always made that extra effort to step outside of the box. The idea of conforming to be what my peers or family thought I should be or act how they thought I should act, has never appealed to me. For as long as I can remember, the whole rock star mentality has appealed to me and my outlook on life reflects that. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve outgrown some things like dark lipstick, but I still prefer skulls over hearts. I believe you should be true to yourself regardless of what those around you think.

My mother’s ideal daughter is almost my complete opposite. She’s quiet and reserved and wears clothes that are somewhat dress almost every day. That worked for me until I got old enough to develop my own sense of style. I’ve always been on the quiet side, but as I got older, I started to speak my mind when I felt it necessary, and I became “rough” according to my mother. She was convinced I would never find a decent boyfriend because of this. My peers had a whole other opinion on how I should be. According to them, my dress should have resembled more of what was in style and my personality should have been bolder.

At first I tried to make my friends happy and see if their style worked for me, but I soon realized it didn’t. Seventh grade was when I started to wear the studded bracelets and black nail polish, and almost immediately I got a negative reaction from most of my peers. The reactions ranged from a simple “Why?” to puzzled to stares in the hallway, but the most common one was, “Why don’t you act you race?”. Until that moment, I’d never really noticed the racial stereotypes. And when given time to think about it, it irked me because first of all, I have three races jumbled inside me and second, how are certain races supposed to act?

If I go by the stereotypes, the black part of me is supposed to be loud and intimidating. My Puerto Rican side is supposed to be hot tempered and I have no idea what the Cherokee in me is supposed to act like because I’ve yet to meet anyone who knows. Which causes me to ask, what happens when you put of them all together? What people fail to realize, is that there is more than one life experience regardless of your ethnicity. A minority can grow up in the suburbs just as easily as a white person can live in the projects. I’ve yet to encounter a person who can explain to me why choosing Hot Topic over Up Against The Wall makes me less black.

I was colorblind when it came to friends until middle school. I think it’s terrible how society and the media can taint your view of the world, but despite all of my revelations about the world I never lost myself. Although I’ve outgrown my cargo pants, I still prefer Avenged Sevenfold to Jay-Z.