On today’s “On This Day” surprise courtesy of Facebook, I got a throwback to March 18, 2009 – the day I found out that I was accepted into UCLA. I remember everyone was anxious to hear from UCLA and before I received my acceptance email, I had heard that many had been rejected. When I saw the word “Congratulations” light up on my computer, I was so insanely happy. And of course, I did what any teenager in 2009 would do – I wrote a status simply saying UCLA :]. I got a lot of congratulatory messages from friends, but I also received this comment from a former acquaintance – ” I guess they only accepted power nazis this year.” And just like that, miles away, years later, I felt triggered.
I have been struggling with this issue a lot lately. This perception of me that everyone else seems to have when I don’t perceive myself that way at all. Back in high school, I was president of a club that grew from 50 to 500 members. We were so big, we had to start meeting in the gym because a classroom just wouldn’t suffice. So when you’re trying to get the attention of 500+ teenagers during lunch time, you have to be assertive. You have to be loud. You have to have a commanding presence. But of course, when I did this, I was automatically deemed the “power nazi”, even though back then, I was one of the sweetest people you would ever meet. It bothered me then, and it bothers me way more now. Because I’m 99% sure that if it was a male president who tried to assert his authority at at a meeting or an event – a male who was organized and stuck to agendas – he would have been called a boss, not a “power nazi.”
But I digress. Fast forward eight years, and once again, I feel weighed down by this sadness that others perceive me as someone I am not. They see me as a radical feminist (because in this town, any word spoken against men or gender inequality automatically deems you as a man-hating liberal), a gossip, a weirdo. Some seem me as “too smart”, while others don’t see me as competition at all. I am a mother/planner to some, but then I’m too irresponsible for others. One guy who I met early on last year and who I thought shared a lot in common with me, apparently was turned off by the fact that I held the door for him once. He waved me off as too aggressive because I am proud of where I come from and I challenge those who are too ignorant to realize there are other countries in the world other than India. But maybe, they are all right in some way – maybe I am an aggressive, weird, organized, young soul, who makes mistakes and has flaws. I just wish, they would acknowledge that at the end of the day, I am a good person. I do what I can for others. I try to do good. I try to make others laugh. I try to make life better, more meaningful.
It has been difficult finding my tribe, but this weekend once again proved that I desperately want a group, a clique, a family. I have friends and I have some closer friends, but I still feel as if I’m floating, not necessarily tethered down. Or perhaps all of this is just a combination of PMS and being homesick. Spring Break can’t come fast enough.