Ah, elementary school.
The weirdness certainly began there.
I was an unusually quiet child. So quiet that my teachers thought I couldn’t speak English. They placed me in an ESL class with other Chinese students.
I was offended by this, but eventually I realized it was a blessing. Not only did I get to do creative activities like draw and colour, but I also got to not do work (mainly because I just copied off the smartest ESL student in our class).
I felt like I was at home. I was surrounded by people who looked and acted like me. They were quiet and tranquil.
Then another school year rolled around and the teachers decided to re-integrate me back into the “normal” class.
And I hated it.
The dynamics were so different. There was always a label for everyone: you’re the class-clown/nerd/shy kid/weird kid etc.
No I wasn’t the weird kid. I was actually a combination of the shy and smart kid. And you’re probably thinking “wow how can you be the smart one when you copied off another kid’s paper? Blasphemy!”
I didn’t even know why I got that label. Maybe a kid saw me reading a book (but didn’t know I was just pretending) and spread the word to others. Who knows. Just goes to show that labels are really nothing. Sometimes they have a truthful basis and sometimes they don’t.
Elementary school is just like a preview to the social institutions everyone has to enter when they hit adulthood. There’s always that system of who’s what and why it matters someone is the smart/pretty/weird one etc.
So lesson to you kids (and adults) out there: be whoever you know you are because honestly life’s way too short to spend it living up to a label you never asked for.
Curse us for our terrible labelling habits.