A Girl Like Me, by Rachel Cannon / by Newcastle Discovered

WARNING: this is a thought piece and the opinions within this article may not reflect the opinions of Mirage as a whole. They may contain triggering content and you’ve been warned. Disagree? Write a well thought out response to this without insulting the other author, remembering to be positive with a potential outcome that makes the world better and email it to: info@newcastlemirage.com 

All I hear surrounding me are the same damn things all the time. Sit up straight, look pretty, plaster a smile on that weak resting bitch face of yours. Treat the world better than it treated you.

         But I can’t. And I won’t. For I have seen first-hand the damage this planet can do to a girl like me, and to a boy like him. It can crush you a little bit every day but you don’t have to be alone, you don’t have to build a cocoon to shut them out because you can just walk around in the prison you call a body and pray for better days.

         You, on your pedestal, on your high horse. Maybe you became a psychologist because you genuinely want to help people. Maybe you see the best in them, behind their haunted and numb exteriors that their mind forces them to create just to look normal. Simply to fit in. You, playing God with emotions, maybe you chose to study psychiatry because that way you get to see the chemicals of the pills working their magic on peoples’ brains and pushing them to become less of who they really are simply because society may deem them more likeable… more tolerable… less scary. Who are you to decide who gets to live life on the outside? Who are they to decide who gets to live a life of so-called ‘normalcy’?

         From the minute we are born unto this planet, we are subject to the harsh inequalities of life. Sexism comes first. If you’re a girl, they’ll dress you in pink so strangers will know to treat you gently as if your bones may crack and crumble at any inkling of virility. And if you have a penis, they will dress you in blue and remark about how you will turn into a ladies man and work hard for a living to support your wife and children. This is how heteronormativity, and homophobia by extension, is embodied in us next. Any sign of deviation from this majority will have your palms sweating with fear and desire to be anyone but who you actually are. There are therapeutic methods to eradicate that, too, supposedly. They still use these ways and means in some places, and it is enough to make you sick if you have any kind of heart.

         Racism is embedded into our skin and plucked out like feathers next. We aren’t born racists. It is engraved like metal onto the surface of our brains, only to settle and submerge into our consciousness. Maybe we aren’t all aware of it. But we see an interracial relationship and our subconscious begs us to look away. The police shoot blacks and we say nothing until someone claims that “Black Lives Matter”. Why do we retaliate? What is it about white culture that has us screaming that “All Lives Matter”? You see, these lives don’t matter to us until we’re the ones who seem like we could become minorities. Diversity in media only seems to matter to us when it’s not straight white individuals on our screen, emblazoned on billboards, and burning our retinas. We see a woman with a headscarf and we want to look away. We see people in trouble that aren’t like us and we don’t write about it on the front page. Humans are so good at walking around with their eyes closed. It was only a matter of time before we stepped in shit.

         I had this idealistic vision of what the world should be like, when I was younger. But I’ve come to realise that this will probably never come into fruition, at least not in my own lifetime. But I hope against all odds that future generations will be able to live in a world that is not plagued by hatred, or even misunderstanding, of the world around them. I used to fight for equality so that I could see it. That is no longer the goal. But I hope that in maybe a hundred years from now, children are not growing up into the wave of inequality that I had to. I hope when they are struggling through adolescence, that this world is kinder to them than it was to us. We should all care so much. But we only care about ourselves.

         I could dedicate this rant to the tireless organisations and individuals that allow people to realise that they are never, not for a second, alone. To the men and women and those who live their lives outside the forced gender binary system. To the mothers and fathers and aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents and siblings who accept not only their families but also strangers for who they are, I dedicate these thousand words to you. Because not only do you represent the hatred and distrust of the sick and twisted and downright harmful boundaries that civilization has shoved down our throats, but you also represent hope. Hope, and possibilities, and potential, and promise for a future that could not only be different, but infinitely better.

         It would be too much, wouldn’t it, to ask for a better world now, in 2018, that not only recognised but embraced the differences in every human being, despite their gender, or lack thereof. Despite their ethnicity. Despite their job. Despite their desires, their ambitions, appearance, and whatever else the condemned general public seem to like segregating people into. I thought we left cliques behind in those teen high school movies, but I was mistaken. That faction mindset follows us everywhere, a dark cloud that cannot seem to be lifted, because then, the sun would blind us. And in this society, any sign of infirmity is viewed as fragility, and therefore, too highly detrimental to their quality of life.

The sooner we learn to open our eyes and truly focus on the shit parade that marches atop our planet, we will be closer to achieving true equality for all.



If this article has been a trigger to you or if you just need some help: Crisis support services can be reached 24 hours a day: Lifeline 13 11 14; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800; MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78