Alright. I don’t like confrontation, and I don’t usually go ranting on the internet (unless it’s tweeting about the weather). But I will make an exception just this once because this is a subject I feel deserves to be talked about. How will anything change if we don’t talk about the things that bother us?
Since the very beginning of the term, there has been one particular student in one of my classes that I try to avoid. They interrupt lecture with their ideas, put other students down when they speak up in class and sit at the back of the class whispering and snickering so everyone can hear. It’s a fairly big class though, and I figured I could ignore them and keep to myself.
A few weeks into class I had to do a presentation by myself. I’m usually fairly confident when it comes to presentations, and did my best to prepare something I hoped wouldn’t bore my peers to tears. But even the greatest amount of preparation and confidence won’t help when someone laughs at the things you say or scoffs as if they know more than you. I lost my place a few times but managed to get through the presentation by ignoring said person and focusing on the few people that seemed genuinely interested.
Like most of my friends, I am trying to survive exam season. Due to stress, my skin has been acting up and I woke up with some very unfortunate pimples that weren’t going anywhere… I just decided to take extra care with my skincare routine and have a makeup-free Monday to help my skin breathe. All good things right? I was feeling totally okay about going makeup-free even with my break out. So when I got to my final lecture of the day, my breakout was far from my thoughts.
I got to class early and sat with some homework while my classmates filed in. The student I’ve been talking about was already in class and full of things to say. Now there are some beautiful women in this class who show up looking fierce with amazing outfits and makeup, and it’s always kind of fun for me to see what people are wearing! Apparently, not everyone feels as supportive.
There is a girl whom I’ve talked to a few times, who is always extremely kind and was one of my supporters when I was doing my presentation. She always has an incredible makeup on, and I admire her for that. You go, girl! I mean… It’s a good day if I’m wearing mascara. I totally appreciate her effort. As she walked into class, the student sitting a few rows back from me said in a loud whisper: “Wow…Some of the girls in this class wear WAY too much makeup..”
It was loud enough that people turned around to look. I turned around as well and shot the student a look.
They caught my eye, and as I turned around I heard them say “…and some people don’t wear enough makeup.”
I was shaking. The comment was so blatantly pointed right at me. They spoke in a soft whisper that I could hear clearly from a few rows in front of them, but not loud enough that the people who had previously turned around would do so again.
They went on to criticize a couple girls that showed up wearing high waisted jeans and crop tops, commenting on their curves and name calling. I was red in the face and fuming by the time our prof began the lecture.
I still have no words. I will never understand why some people feel entitled to be so outwardly cruel and judgemental. It really doesn’t matter to me if they thought I should do them a favour and cover up my blemishes to appear more attractive because I’m not going to do that. The comment itself isn’t really what hurts because I honestly don’t need this person’s approval to feel good about myself.
But the fact that they purposefully wanted to hurt me and the other women they were commenting on makes me feel sick to the stomach. It makes me sad and angry and frustrated that we still haven’t learned to be supportive and good to each other. It also makes me angry because this student was surrounded by people and not one of us told him to shut up and stop being an a@#. I wish I had it in me to stick up for myself and these other beautiful women. Instead, I went home ranted to Adam and am now listening to “Mean” by Taylor Swift as I write this.
The photo above was taken this afternoon. My hair isn’t styled, I’m not wearing any makeup, and my skin is looking much better today because I took care of it properly… Not to mention the fact that the midafternoon lighting did wonders to smooth over my skin in the photograph. I’m not smiling or posing, and I’m certainly not trying to be anything I’m not. It’s just a snapshot of a moment that shows me as I am. I’m lucky that I feel comfortable enough in my own skin to post this picture with pride.
I guess the point of this whole post is to say that I want everyone to think twice before offering negative commentary. Be supportive, treat people well and let your legacy be one of kindness. I will forever look back on this class and remember the kind people that stood up for me and showed support. But in ten years will I remember that student that put everyone down? Probably not. Because someday I will be someone I’m proud of, and “all you’re ever gonna be is mean”.
How will you spread kindness around?