Becoming Me

Imani - Mcquire AFB, New Jersey
Entered on March 18, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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The passion. The belief. The courage. The excitement. The adrenaline. That is what I truly love during the ride.

Girls are thought to be too weak to participate in games that guys play. Girls are thought to be girly and love dresses and doing hair. That is the total opposite of me. I am the biggest tom-boy ever. I would hang out with the guys. Eat with the guys. I was one of the guys. I wanted to be a skateboarder so i learned how to skateboard in 5th grade. My mom always told me to be myself, once she found out who I wanted to be she completely banned it. However i kept going, that is what i believe was part of becoming me.

It all started one day when I went to this new skate park with my friend Jesika. The place was swarming with guys, only guys. Once we walk through that fence people started to stare until someone finally got up the courage to ask us “What are you girls doing here? You don’t belong here this place is to hard core?” My blood started to boil. I had never had anyone put me down before, and i wasn’t about to let it start any time soon. I wanted to fight him, but the looks we were getting were making me nervous, so i kept my mouth shut. Jeskia was the one who put them in place, and I will always love her for what she did to help me become me. She marched up to him ” Hey, look this park does not belong to you and if we can’t come in than I deul you to a one on one skateboarding match..right here..right now! If we win then we get to stay here and your mouth stays closed.” The memory is so vivid in my mind, it feels like it happened only a couple of days ago, though it was actually 2 years ago. That day Jesika earned us both respect and she showed me that just because you are a girl doesn’t mean you can’t do the same things guys do. They are not a superior race. When i learned in history class that women were not allowed to do anything, but sit around, have children, clean and work for the guys, I got frustrated…and i go back to that day in Texas where Jesika showed me a new light. It happened again in my 8th grade career launch class. A guy who sits beside me was making fun of women because they get paid less than guys, even if a women may work harder than a guy and the guy is just slacking off. I quote what he said because it was the trigger to my anger that day ” Just like they say, you can’t make women without men” he laughed as he said that and I exploded. He finally shut-up when he noticed me glaring at him. Today i’m still on that boulevard of becoming me. I’ve had more than one name that has been given to me on my journey. Some call me skater chick, others call me Goth, but i’m still traveling. Even when i hear what women have gone through back then and still now, it leaves me so discombobulated that we still can’t have the respect we deserve, job wise and sometimes people wise.

This is what i believe is what helped me become me.