For whatever reason, I’ve always had a “thing” for eyes. They captivate me. I often find myself doodling eyes all over my notebooks when my classes get to be too boring. So, I figured I would try to actually draw one. It’s very far from perfect, but hey at least I tried.
I hear people say all the time that they are proud to be Americans. It’s second nature to associate the word “American” with “pride.” I, however, am not “proud” to be an American. When I say this, many look down on me and/or tell me to leave the country. And it is that, right there, why I am not proud of my country. So often times, people think that because they are American, they are worth more than others. As if being born in the United States makes them better than anyone else in the world. But the moment someone disagrees with this notion, we are told to “just leave.” It is my belief that people are just people. I don’t care if you’re European, African, North American, black, white, Latina, or whatever else you may identify as- none of those things defines your self-worth because we are all just people. I was just born in a different place than others- this doesn’t make me better by any means. This doesn’t mean that my life is worth more. The only reason I am American is because a long time ago some of my ancestors decided to get on a boat- this doesn’t make me special. I am a person, just like you. We are all just humans. The country I was born in doesn’t make me superior to another. No I do not hate America and I realize that there are worse places to live, but I do not think that my country is better than others like we like to believe it is. I do not hate all Americans, because I don’t like to generalize people- I prefer to know them before I judge them. You can call me any name you please or say whatever you want- you’re not going to insult me and you’re sure as hell not going to change my mind. I prefer to live in a world where people are just people and they are free to be who they want to be. So no, I am not proud to have born in a country where so many have a false sense of superiority. I am not proud to live in a country whose government thinks they can do what they want in other countries just because this is America. I am not proud to know people that feel that war is “population control.” I am proud of those that aren’t afraid to stand up and share what they feel. I am proud of those that can admit their flaws. I am proud of those that try to make the world better. I am proud of those that spread love instead of hate. I am proud of people that understand that we are all the same on the inside, no matter how we look or where we come from. So I may not be proud to be an American, but I am proud of the things that truly matter.
Being left out is never fun for anyone, however it is something that we will all inevitably go through; some of us much more than others. Exclusion was my worst enemy growing up. The thing about it is that it is the kind of bullying that no one does anything about, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. Whether it was gym class or a game of hide-and-go-seek tag with my closest friends, I was always chosen last. I don’t think I can ever recall a time when I wasn’t chosen last, even when it was an in class game. I was the smartest in my class, so you would think people would actually want me on their team, but I was still always the last chosen when it came down to it. After a while, being everyone’s last choice (is it really even a choice? It’s more like whoever is stuck with you) should become expected, and it did. As soon as it came time to pick teams, I knew I would be the last one picked. Many times I can laugh it off and pretend that it doesn’t hurt. But yet, even after all these years, it still stings each and every time.
So what is the point of this melancholy post? I can promise you it isn’t simply to whine about how “hard” my life has been (I use quotes because I am quite aware that many people have much bigger problems than I). There is, surprisingly, a lesson coming up. Today, I was once again chosen last. The girl with no sense of team spirit was chosen before me. The girl who has been to one practice this season was chosen before me. As much as I am used to this, it still stung. More than usual, because I have had a horrible last couple of days, but also because I thought I had finally found a team that saw me as an asset rather than a burden. Perhaps that is true, however it didn’t feel true this morning. The lesson here is that it may not have been personal- it may have just been the luck of the draw, or maybe I’m just cursed. It probably wasn’t met to hurt me, or to be taken so personally. However, to me, and others that have been excluded all their lives, it is always personal. It hurts every single time. Think of that person and how it feels to be everyone’s last choice next time you are lining people up to pick teams. Even if it isn’t personal for you, for that person picked last, especially if they are picked last most of the time, it is always personal.
With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, I can’t help but be slapped in the face with my single status. For someone like me, who spends most of her time third wheeling, the loner status is especially prevalent because all your friends are couples. I have two choices: walk around with a sign that says, “Hi I’m Ruby, and I have 2 days to find a Valentine,” or find ways to survive yet another Valentine’s Day alone. Because I still have a sliver of pride, I think I’ll choose option B. So here’s my satirical list of how to stay sane on Valentine’s Day:
- Buy heart shaped balloons- pop them.
- If for some reason you have to leave the house, dress like you have a Valentine’s Day date.
- Ice Cream. Lots and lots of ice cream.Or just food in general.
- Watch a movie- avoid Romantic movies at all costs and shoot for the horror or the comedy (not a rom com) genre. You’ll either be too busy laughing or too busy jumping at every sound that you’ll forget to be lonely.
- If you have any, call your single friends- there’s no reason you guys can’t have fun on this dreaded holiday.
- Go to a romantic restaurant and be obnoxious- if you can’t enjoy Valentine’s Day, than no one should!
- Plant fake engagement rings. Watch the shock and confusion on the unsuspecting couples’ faces.
- Buy yourself flowers- after all, you deserve them.
- Get a puppy- it’s the best Valentine you could ask for!
- Get drunk.
Just because you’re single, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself on Valentine’s Day- be your own Valentine, and who knows? Maybe you’ll have even more fun that way.