City of Roses
|I was bullied often as a child in elementary school because a group of other boys my age called me too "girlish", particularly because there were some boys who enjoyed things like tearing the jumping legs off grasshoppers and starting fights just for fun, and I didn't want to do either and cried at what they were doing to the grasshoppers. So I was the victim of much ridicule and shoving against chain link fences when I was young.
I do believe it's not only unfortunate, but a big mistake that these gender stereotypes have become well-established in our cultural mainstream, especially to encourage boys to swallow their emotions and hide them in the deepest amethyst caves of their hearts because crying is a sign of weakness among both boys and men. I just don't believe in that, as I feel I would never be the confident, optimistic individual I am now if I didn't have an emotional release and emotional support from inspiring figures such as my sophomore-year English teacher Philippe Ernewein, who was the one who encouraged me to write out what was on my mind in poetic form, and would just turn out internally numb.
Personally, I'd rather appear emotional than appear expressionless. When I attended Denver Academy, what teachers said especially inspired them about me was how emotionally earnest I was; that when I smiled I meant it, and when I cried they could see my tears, and when a teacher was having a difficult day, I hugged the teacher, and from virtually everyone the responses I got at the end of every school year and on my graduation day was "Never change, Noah, never change from your warm, compassionate self!" Just reflecting on them speaking those words to me makes me tear up!
I believe there's so much that's misunderstood and underappreciated in life if young boys are taught to hide their feelings and to appear unfeeling on the exterior. I believe it's those moments where thoughts are expressed in a non-verbal kind of rapport and through the softening sight of eyes that speak deeper volumes than most words can ever do, and I'd like to see more of that reflected in popular culture.
Also, I've found myself not fitting in to many things in pop culture that are thought to be "manly". One of them is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which everyone but me in my family love watching. I can certainly respect that the rest of my family has different interests than I do and think it's great they can come together and talk so much enthusiastically like that because of watching it, but fighting programs like that and the WWF have never been my kind of thing, nor does smash mouth football or many of the things associated with "King of the Hill".
One hobby I love most of all is Dance Dance Revolution, which often gets ridiculed for being a geek's game and a game only fun for people who want to look like idiots (yes, some critics have actually said that). Personally, I believe it's a wonderful, beneficial game for everyone, youth especially, in that it's a completely harmless, non-violent game that helps encourage children to keep physically active while having fun, as well as improve the motor skills and self-esteem in every child who plays it on a regular basis. I believe it's the healthiest videogame ever made that's a positive influence for our youth, and if I'm going to be called "girlish" for being a big fan of it, then consider me your Girlish Mistletoe Angel!
I also am not ashamed crying during touching movies (I cried watching "March of the Penguins" several times, once during the scene when the mothers finally return home months after the chicklings are born in searching for food to feed their young, and all the emotional excitement in all the chicklings speeding toward their mothers. I mean, can you imagine being born and not seeing your mother's face for months, even years?), wearing colorful shirts in public, saying magenta is one of my favorite colors and posting text here in that color, putting posters of butterflies and mermaids on my bedroom walls, and simply, being an individual who possesses both some non-stereotypical feminine and masculine qualities but are not at all limited to them.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"