Today’s Write Practice – 06/25/2020
What wound do you need to confront?
Tell the story of one of your scars. You don’t have to share this with your writing group, but I’m sure they would be honored if you did.
(You know how long to write for.)
Just thinking about wounds that have left scars on my body had me contemplating the many inner wounds that have left scars. I wrestle between writing about a more light-hearted wound or one of those inner wounds that still pinch a little when reflected upon.
This wound seems to be vying for attention. When I was 12 years old, I left home for the first time to attend a youth camp in Orr, Minnesota. I was born and raised in Canada. I wasn’t unfamiliar with travel as my mother had a bit of wanderlust and started traveling with me in tow early on.
I was super excited and scared at the same time. To be away from my mom for an entire month, I could hardly fathom it, but the adventures that awaited me were too exceptional to give up. Besides, I would meet lots of people my age and make grand friends, right?
It was such a marvellous time. I learned archery, canoeing, voyageur canoeing, how to handle and shoot a rifle and all kinds of other activities that really made the month fly once I got over the nervousness of meeting unfamiliar people and being so far away from home and my beloved mom.
There came a time when I was in my dorm with my other roommates (probably enjoying the cassette tape sent to one of us, which included the recently released song, Afternoon Delight) and we were all just chatting it up. One girl was bold enough to declare that I was prejudiced. To say that it shocked me is an understatement. At first, I was unwilling to accept what I had heard. How could that be? I grew up as a minority and experienced bullying and teasing because of my differences, so having any type of bias when I knew how painful it was to be on the receiving end of it didn’t seem possible.
After I cried and felt sorry for myself I took some time to reflect and an incident popped into my mind that stopped me dead in my tracks. The girl that confronted me was right. I could think of at least one incident and it shamed me to think of how I felt then. It is so easy for us to point fingers at others that show prejudice, but we should take a moment and check ourselves.
I was on a public bus and had just found a seat near the front when we stopped and a young black man stepped on board. From the moment he boarded, he was belligerent and rude to the driver with a cruel slant to his mouth, as he attempted to slip pass the bus driver without paying. I remember slumping into my seat, embarrassed that this young man and I shared the same skin color as if it meant I was rude and belligerent just by association. I was so offended by his actions I wanted to disappear. I’m nothing like that, I thought. Maybe other people will think I’m just like him, too.
It took some time for me to forgive myself and own up to the fact that just because I grew up amongst mostly white people didn’t make me a “white” person. I don’t know about you, but I don’t go around thinking, “Hey, I’m brown-skinned, wow!” So I don’t really know why we even bother categorizing ourselves in this manner at all. I think we are way more influenced by our families, environment and our region.
This experience definitely left a scar, but looking back, I believe this was a pivotal time in my life that allowed me to look at people individually, not based on their skin, money or lack thereof, education, whether they had a mother and father or like me, lived with just one parent. I like diversity. I love that we have unique colors, different shaped and colored eyes, different everything. It makes life so interesting and so much to discover!