Perseverance

Ernestasia Edwards

Being an outsider is not the least bit unusual in my life. When it comes to school, jobs, and just my placement in my family have all indicated how I’m different or excluded due to my differences.

In school although I was an outsider I was a popular one. In classes I gave the most absurd inputs and comments. Many people thought that I did it to purposely go against everyone's ideas, I felt like some of them just thought I was trying to be a “Negative Nancy” or some thing. Its like every time I had an opinion that went against with the common person in class felt or shared they thought I was purposely trying to discredit their thoughts. Which wasn't the case of course, I just had a different way of thinking and liked sharing my input.

The class:

Plus sometimes things I say aren’t to go against anyone else it’s just a different view of looking at it. But like usually I was the one who complained or stressed about papers and assignments and got high grades on them. Or even worse , as they would say, complain about a grade that was above average. They’d get a lower grade than me and tried to make me feel guilty about feeling a way about my grade. The didnt understand it wasn't a good enough grade for me nor do they understand how my standards and way of thinking just isn't like everyone elses they’ve met before. I don't try to stand out or be different, but I most definitely don’t got out of my way to join a trend. In my school it was separated usually by people who had similar grades. Like GPAs, the studious people stayed with the studious people and the average people stayed around the average people, and so on. Yet with me, looking at my grades you'd classify me as a studious person but I blended in with everyone which made me an outsider with everyone. It sounds very weird but everyone just seem to see me differently. A whole group of people may not except me but one or two people out of the group admired my “outsiderness”. The school was so divided that teachers even tried to push me to be in certain groups to avoid me from letting my flexibility to bond and connect with others affect my grades. For example majority of them didn't like the friends that I hung around because their grades were different from mine. I never perfectly fit into anything because my love and respect for the "opposite” thing always got in the way. This resulted in me just being a full on outsider, a popular one nonetheless.

Another time I experienced being an outsider based on my skin complexion was working at Chick-fil-A. My Chick-fil-A coworkers were very discriminating towards me and treated me differently because of the way I looked. Both of my parents are black, so so I am , and I carry that with pride. However many people Believe that I am just “riding a wave”, because I am of lighter skin tone especially compared to my parents. I am not adopted, my parents are my parents but I usually find myself having to back up my proof and being black. Now with that in mind, the Chick-fil-A employee crew were majority black in my hometown and of the darker skin complexion. When I first started the job the manager noticed me right off the bat because I was a great worker.

Me the first week!

They started giving me harder jobs and a heavier workloads, and when I started dominating those task, I had gotten a raise within two months of working there. On top of all of that I was fairly young especially compared to the majority of employees and the ones that were in my age group weren’t doing the things I was. From there the miss treatment begun. I thought it was because of the recognition I got from managers but they left remarks as they pass by me like “fake black girl” or “ a wannabe”. Honestly, it barely made sense to me at first I thought they thought I was a suck up or something I just took all my job seriously, I've been working since I was 14. Until one day the one coworker that I was cool with told me why they said those remarks and why none of them liked me. They ended up coming up to me letting me know they felt I was a fraud that I only lied and said that I'm a black girl or “act black” to fit in. It all started to make sense, they thought that I was getting all of these perks from the manager because I was light skin and posed as a black girl. Yet, it was my work ethic that got me thus far in the job but they didnt see it that way. Due to my success in the job I didn't want to leave it even though the coworkers were bringing me down. So I made it my mission to try to clear up that negative stereotype that depend on me because of my skin complexion. I don't think it's fair that I had to explain or justify my “blackness”. Even after all of that trying that I did to get them to understand it didn't work and ultimately drove me to quit the job. I felt like too much of an outsider and this wasn't my first time experiencing this kind of discrimination. Being an outsider is hard and was very hard in the situation but it opened my eyes.

Now in my family I am a big outsider, I’m the skinniest out of my mother’s and father’s kids, and the Lightest kid out of my mother’s….and they never let me forget it. From the “you need to eat more” to “you’re adopted” jokes, I was constantly reminded on how different I looked and seemed compared to my family.

How it seemed they looked at my differences:

However, I was happy in my skin and body, they tried to make my differences seem negative and I tried to look at me being an outsider as me being the only normal one.

How I tried to normalize my differences in comparison to my family:

My confidence wasn’t always strong or there sometimes, I tried to stuff myself to have some more weight on my body or take full advantage of tanning season as I craved my darker skin tone in the summer. My family started to notice and realized thats not how they wanted me to feel and from there my differences were no longer seen in a negative light. All the negativity that continued came from the ignorance of the world especially from the people in my grades. They questioned the aspects of my life, like why dont I have the same skin tone of my mom, or why am I so skinny, “do you eat?”, “are you adopted?”…It was never ending and still happens today. Presently, I carry myself differently, as my family and I educate the ignorant people. I am still an outsider in my family but not from my families perspective, from the outside looking in.

The women in Ancient Greece faced the stereotype that they were unaffected in the war. However they fought against those stereotypes because their husbands and sons had to fight in the wars. Many of them lose those loved ones and have to grieve those deaths. In return they fought against these beliefs by going on a sex strike. I feel like they possessed great perseverance when this went on because they were too making a sacrifice and also had to stay strong against the men. Nonetheless their method worked and it shows them defying the stereotypes when the men realized the war does affect them. In return they made peace with the opponents and all was at peace.

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