Hi, I'm Panteha Abareshi and I am, without a doubt, a woman of color. God, that sounded cheesy. But anyways- I am half Jamaican and half Iranian and Canadian (because I was born there...). The point is I'm all over the place.
I spent the 8 vital years of childhood development (age 5-12) at one school, with a group of people that remain generally constant. I was the only black girl for a very long time, and all of my friends were white. I grew to envy them slowly, and racked my brain but couldn't grasp why I couldn't look like them. You see, I have this thing called an afro rooted to my head. I've had it all my life, and I don't think it's going anywhere. But all my friends had naturally straight, glossy hair and I Just Didn't Get It. I wanted so badly to have light, long hair that I could toss effortlessly over my shoulder as I laughed, or get cut into bangs. But I had, and still have thick, dark hair that grows out, not down. So I wore my hair in pigtails that my father would comb my hair into for me. Yep. 3-4 braids adorned at the ends with colorful beads, and held in place with equally colorful hair ties. And then I was introduced to perms. Hurrah! Now I could finally get the straight hair I had lusted after for so long. All I had to do was fill my hair with chemicals that made my scalp burn and made my ends coarser than steel wool. But I was overjoyed to finally be able to wear my hair down, and I felt like I fit in more.
I'll spare you all the agony, and We'll fast foreword through the awkward year that elapsed between then and now. So, voila. Here I am. I'm still Panteha Abareshi. Duh. But I've realized something my younger self could've really used. I know now that I shouldn't change myself just for the purpose of fitting in with others. UGH THIS SOUNDS SO "SELF-HELP"-Y AND LAME. But I don't really know how else to say it, so go along with it kids. I don't have to. You don't have to. Nobody has to. If every kid changed themselves to act and look and talk and walk and smell and eat and think like one person- one "popular" "pretty" "perfect" person- then what we'd be left with would be a big, stinkin' pile of clones.
I should have never hated my 'fro. Or wanted green eyes instead of my brown ones. I don't have to be fair skinned to be beautiful. I don't have to be a size 00 to be attractive. I sport my box braids proudly, and I honestly don't give a damn about what people think I should do to myself for this and that reason. I wear what I want (which is mostly just tie dye and jeans), act how I want and if people can't accept that then that's not really my problem anymore.
So to the "weird kid" who's hair is a beautifully kinky mess. To the "awkward" tall girl who towers above her classmates. To the "nerd". To the "losers". The "weirdos". "Freaks". "Geeks". To everyone who is deemed abnormal by someone who fits the random bill of perfection society has created: please, please don't make yourself change to please other people and fit in.
God I hate that ridiculous saying. Fit In. The phrase suggests that life is like that stupid game babies have where they have to fit the shaped blocks into the specific holes. The circles into the circle hole. the Squares into the square hole. So where do the hexagons go? The nonagons? And what about the dodecahedrons? Ok, it may seem like I'm just showing off my extensive knowledge of geometric figures, but I swear I'm not. The point is this. Don't make yourself a square just to fit into the stupid, pre-cut hole. Ok. forget this metaphor. Listen up kids. It's really not worth it. I learned the hard way that changing for the people around you rather than for yourself doesn't do anything but make you miserable. In grade school highschool, college, life (or whatever comes after school), it may seem lame and hard to find people you can relate with, but changing yourself to fit in with the readily available people will just suck even more. so... yeah. avoid that. If you just be yourself, then I'm sure you'll find people who you can accept for themselves and who accept you. In fact, I guarantee it- just like in the Men's Warehouse ads.
So lets just all be weirdos together, and have weirdo relationships with other weirdos. Let's all be awkward, and strange, and funky and crazy together. And Let's just enjoy it.
Goodnight from one PROUD weirdo to another