This weekend, I went to Sea World with Pink Susie and Pearl and the group home people. Yes, that Pink Susie. She hasn’t called me for anything other than to go on this trip, but I don’t hold grudges, especially not against family. I find that how a person feels about me doesn’t necessarily correlate to how I feel about them. I have this queer ability to still respect and like people who don’t like me or are mad at me or jealous of me. Sometimes I know before they do why I am in their lives and why they are in mine. For this reason I have learned to be more patient with people than some people think I should be.
For example, I have a friend, Pocahontas*. I met Pochantas when I first started attended the private high school I got the scholarship to. I was a junior and she was a freshmen. Most people would assume that Allie and I became friends simply because we were two of a small number of Black girls who lived in the dorms; after all, we didn’t seem to have much in common. She was a beautiful girl with long jet black hair, on the track team, liked going out to parties and being gone past curfew. She was loud. She had a mean streak and would talk about folks in a minute. I was the brainiac, passably attractive, passive, do what I’m supposed to do so I can keep my scholarship and golden ticket out of my whack town girl. We butted heads a lot at first. She liked to challenge things I said. She needed someone to stand up to her and let her know they wouldn’t take her nonsense. I may be small but I never back down once I decide to put my foot down. I knew when I first met her that I would have to jump on everytime she tried to put my opinion down or disrespect me, because she didn’t know any better. I would have to teach how how to treat me, and by extension others. She didn’t need me for that, though; maturity is a many splendored thing that teaches all a bit of humility and installs the brain-mouth filter. Besides, she had other friends that got in her behind about her disrespectful attitude. She knew that I wouldn’t sign her in if she snuck off the premises to go to some party to see some guy, but she also knew she could call me at 3am and my phone would still be on and I would let her trifling behind in. She knew I would help her clean her room while correcting her French when her mother was on her way to visit and she had a test the next day as well, long after other people went to sleep. I understood she needed my support as much as my reproof. But she taught me to loosen up and have fun. She let me use her computer to burn CDs when I didn’t have one. We went running together. She came to my house and met my family. We pray for each other. Now we are both grown women pursuing our dreams on two different continents and we still keep in touch because we know why we are in each other’s lives.
The relationship between me and Pink Susie is still a work in progress. Just yesterday, as I sat on a bench waiting for her at Sea World, she came out the bathroom and said I looked as if I was 3 months pregnant sitting there. It was out of the blue and uncalled for, but she can’t seem to help it. She will eventually call me and wonder why I haven’t done something for her yet and take for granted I have nothing but time to do just what she wants me to do. Mr. Perfect will get frustrated and a little angry with me for still doing things for her and answering her phone calls when all she seems to do is upset me, but I know why she’s in my life.
I know there are people that I know who don’t like me, some of them people who thought they would like me. To tell you the truth, when people first meet me and think they will like me or hate me, they are usually wrong. I don’t know why; this is just the way it goes. When you meet me, you meet the real me, just with less to say. I would rather hear what you have to say. I know pretty soon if they will like me. I wait patiently for them to realize that they don’t and move on, not because I like being tossed aside, but because I know there’s a reason you’re around. And like me, hate me, envy me or what I have, feel pity/condesention for what you think I don’t have, call me ugly, think I’m rude, think I’m too nice/fake/mean/naive…there’s a reason you met me too. Until you know what that reason is, maybe you shouldn’t dismiss me, or diss me, or even love me. I know people think I am fake because I seem happy a lot of the time or because I still speak and they don’t like me and KNOW I don’t like them. That’s fine; think what you like. If I were sad and/or angry all the time, I would hate my ability to smile and laugh no matter my situation too. But maybe that is what you are supposed to be learning from me. You are so busy hating that you are missing it. If I disliked you, I wouldn’t speak to you at all. I can like you just fine even though you don’t like me much. I learn from people I don’t particularly care for all the time. How I treat you is how I would want to be treated.
There was a girl in my Great American Books class who made a comment that she didn’t think it was fair she felt like she had to stop her conversations and speak to every Black person so they wouldn’t think she was racist. Of course, she had spoken to me everyday up to this point, and I knew she didn’t really want to, but I let her. What I told her when she said this was that every Black person doesn’t want to be spoken to, especially out of obligation. I thought she was more racist for saying and thinking that, taking into account my skin color before speaking. If you really weren’t racist, you wouldn’t care what color I was. If you wanted to speak, you would speak and if you didn’t, you would continue on with your conversation and I would go to my seat. You wouldn’t speak to random white people you didn’t want to talk to just because; treat me the same way. And you know what? I was upset that other people seconded her, people I didn’t think looked at me that way, but I didn’t hold it against them. They didn’t know how to be around me, even though I am just a person like them. This girl was Jewish. I say that because her main argument was that the Jewish people are discriminated against just like Black people, and she didn’t understand why we felt entitled to something, some consideration and concessions. If she was discriminated against, why would she make judgments in that discriminatory fashion? Shouldn’t she know better? But she didn’t, and maybe that’s why she met me. The next day, I looked her straight in the eye and spoke to her. It was the first time I spoke to her first ever, and the last. I wanted her to know, since I had explained it to her already, I had spoken all those times because I wanted to, not because I was compelled to. After what she said and the way she got backlashed against by most, I didn’t have to speak to her. Some people would say I was justified, if they heard the whole of her speech. But your ignorance can’t be my excuse for my feelings. I can’t dislike someone simply because they dislike me. I am not wired that way.
Feeling independent of your feelings,