Newt In A Tea Cup

{April 8, 2007}   International Chocolate Day…

…is always welcome in my books.

I’ve been meaning to write for a while but everything doesn’t seem to come out at all. Lately I’ve been going through some kind of personal mental crisis at the moment. So I’m just going to write a bit about myself because maybe this will help me understand. Whilst I am aware of the very public nature of this blog, it is also a place for me to explore my thoughts and discover things, shape my opinions. So here are some free form thoughts.

When I first moved to England I was finding it very, very difficult to fit in. I tried very hard figuring it would be a fresh start from the old school which was less than ideal and apart from that I think I was forcing myself to like it to the point of being blinkered.

I was twelve, naive and blind to the warning signs. I tried so hard I screwed it up for myself and, without even realising it, I became one of the top bullying targets for my year group. I think it was a mixture of reactions to my clumsy religion, xenophobia (having moved from France) and perceived American accent (Canadian thank you very much). That and, I hate to say this, but being in a girl’s school there is an unusual amount of passive aggressive tendencies…

Well, I wasn’t popular, despite making some die-hard friendships whom I still have all these years latter. About, if I remember correctly, 13/14 I went all rather emo and downhill. It’s embarrassing to even think of.

Anyway, I was with this youth group and I didn’t feel all that comfy with them. The dynamics hadn’t clicked yet and I don’t think they did until about two years ago when we went to Rwanda together but that’s another story. This was a holiday weekend; my first with them. However things were going to get awkward.

One of the girls, who hung out with the girls who bullied me (still following?) had started coming to the group. I disliked her; she was friendly with some of the meanest, most vindictive girls in school and, besides, she never even tried to stop any bullying. Not that, she would have had any effect anyway.

She was camping with us. And we were sharing a tent.

Can you say awkward?

So, there is me- wanabee goth, and her, popular baby blue and pink tracksuit diva, in the same tent. Very interesting night time conversations we had.

And we actually did.

One of the later nights she said something that got under my skin and followed me until today.

She said “I admire you. You’re the only person I know who doesn’t make a difference if it’s a guy or a girl. It doesn’t matter to you.”

She then expressed how there was always a barrier between the guys and girls, they didn’t spend time with each other, couldn’t talk to each other on the same level. Apparently I didn’t do that.

That made me feel like complete crap.

The reason I was hanging out with the guys and girls equally was because I didn’t have any friends in either group and was desperate to find someone to talk to! I couldn’t afford to be choosy! I was hanging out with anyone who wasn’t ignoring me for god’s sake!

I didn’t quite understand what she meant then. I just felt like a hypocrite and I think I still am. But I’m trying very hard to learn.

One of my friends seems to open my eyes to what she meant- he is the only guy I’ve met who doesn’t regard me under that big sign saying “FEMALE!” first; who isn’t waiting for me to fulfil a list of givens on a gendered check list and to whom my personality is not whim to those powder pink whims, even somewhat. To him I am me; Newt- first of all and female is a coincidence. Of course he flirts and makes saucy comments and I make them straight back but we do that to everyone on reflex, like young people will. We have all, honestly, forgotten perspective genders before if only for a minute. I didn’t know that was possible or that the aforementioned check list was there, until I felt the absence of it, like a weight of constant judgement and evaluation released from my shoulders.

I’m still trying. I’m not there yet.

But I think that’s what she thought I was like, in that cramped, cold, uncomfortable tent and if I fooled her out of sheer desperate “trying to be friends-ness” without even noticing, then maybe it’s a real possibility when I’m stronger and in control and aware. I want that. I want to be what she thought I was.

I don’t want any more hypocrisy or pretence or false intentions. But I’m not fully naive any more…

So, is that feeling, that treatment possible? Is it just me? A girlish fantasy? Or is a reality for me or anyone else?

If it isn’t, why does my mind go back to her words every so often like a spiritual seeker on a pilgrimage?


cellycel says:

Your youth sounds remarkable like mine.

I was pretty much one of the most bullied people at my school. There was a period of time where I tried to be friends with anyone and everyone, but then in my goth stage I gave up on that. I just sat outside the library by myself. I was an unhappy one.

One of my best friends, who is still a great friend to this date was one of those pink, preppy happy (seeming) girls, we had great conversations.

At my school, both the boys and the girls did the passive aggressive thing. Actually the girls seemed more physically aggressive. They threw my schoolbag out the window, and put grass clippings in my clothing. They pulled my sisters skirt down on the bus (my sister was I would say, more unpopular then I was.

My boyfriend is the one male who doesn’t regard me under the big sign of female. That big sign thing confuses me. There’s a guy at work, we talk all the time, I talk more to him then anyone else. He said something to the effect of “You wouldn’t want to see that kind of movie anyway, it’s all actiony” at a movie I’d been looking forward to seeing, and I left just a tad confused. I’ve told him about my taste in movies, clothes, music etc.

My boyfriend explained it to me: It’s because you’re a girl in his mind, not a person. He thinks you like things that ‘girls’ like.

I was stumped.

*has run out of things to say*

tcupnewt says:

I’m so sorry they did all that vicious stuff to you and your sister… I guess I’m lucky- the ending goes that all the non-chavs stuck together and ended up out-numbering the bullies. We all still hang out. I’m glad to hear you made a similar friend; what would we be without them?

I think that sign needs more confrontation in a way. It’s like, if I like shopping it’s seen as the fault of my chromosones not that Newt just likes shopping. It’s like any variation from the “girl” norm is an idiosyncrasy of ours not just the way we are. And deep down we really are just desperate to paint each others toenails we just don’t realise it yet. I’m sure there is an equivalent “MALE” sign; the one that makes us just wait until they don’t ask for directions, grab their balls in public and slob off in the name of footie and beer. It’s a pretty neat, pre-packaged excuse for all personal faults, isn’t it?

cellycel says:

“It’s not my fault I forgot our anniversary, because I’m a guy, and I just don’t care about dates like that.”


“It’s not my fault I spent all that money, I’m a girl, I just like shopping.”

Yeah, I guess it is a neat excuse.

And you’re right, it is like anything we like that is ‘non-girly’ is just an idiosyncrasy, just a little extra tacked on part of our package personality.

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