It was a clear warm fall day in the Northwest as I decided to travel by myself to do my regular shopping since a new supermarket opened months ago and I was thrilled with my first visit there that I chose to get there again. After all, I wasn’t having a great day and I wanted to cheer me up a little by going to Taco Bell.
Inside the restaurant the manager knew my name and I was “elated” that at least someone remembers since there’s a lot of people getting in and out the establishment and I rarely visit there. After I ordered a regular crunchy supreme taco, a double decker, a caramel apple empanada and a small drink, I decided to eat in instead of taking out.
After a few 5 to 10 minutes of eating followed by looking at my phone to see the latest gossip going around on “Whisper” a lady, who I could might say it was in the early 50’s, came cleaning the area by wiping the tables one at a time. As she approached me, she was politely asking me this question: “Can I take this tray, Sir?”
My mind exploded in a millisecond…
Sir? Now, that’s a understatement. Or an insult. Or perhaps even she wasn’t concentrated on her job. Maybe she got lost in translation or worried about her own problems to try to fix what she caused.
By calling me, Sir, it more than calling all those names that women had been called over the decades as a sign of insult. But this, surely beats on everything. On shopping day I decided to wear casual pants, a pair of black sneakers and a Vault-Tec guy T-shirt with a gray hoodie. I forgot to get my earrings and forgot to put my perfume. And as always, I didn’t wear make-up. My curly hair is still short so I just do the usual style instead of wearing wigs or weave into it. I was in a happy mood… sort of, until that incident.
After that word sink in, I felt like oh, that’s why the opposite sex doesn’t even bother to even have a conversation. Or, am I good enough? Am I a woman or a man because of what I wear? My self-esteem that day was crushed, just like the day I was having a crush on a guy on high school and in the end I got bullied, terribly. It was one of those days that if I was in the Borderlands universe, my sniper with corrosive bullets will hit that bitch in a second and watch her melt in front of my eyes. But this is the real world and I have to figure it out how to NOT act ghetto in front of people because, seriously, YouTube is there to catch a glimpse of what a Black woman act for their own amusement.
So, I didn’t look at her because of how ashamed and shocked I was. She quickly correct her words, to ma’am. But the damaged is already done. After she remove my tray out of the table, I quickly grab my drink, filled up a little Mtn. Dew Sangria and ignore once again the conversation she have with me about cleaning the soda machine sprinklers. I just nod, smiled at her and left.
These words kept bothering for days at a time. As a person going on the road to middle age, I have to deal with how people view me physically. It’s been a while I don’t wear dresses because obviously, it’s a small town, were I wear PJ’s to go to the local store and buy stuff. I don’t have the money to go to a beauty salon and even if they have three or four, they won’t even dare touching my dangerous curls for the fear of getting sued. Clothing, however is just casual. Never been to a special occasion that I have to dress like a lady. But one thing I never have to leave without. Since I have short hair, still people like this woman confuse me with a guy, so I have to wear earrings to make them know, I’m a woman. Isn’t that wicked or what?
But it’s always about self-esteem. If a person doesn’t find you attractive, cute, beautiful even since birth. It crush you. It goes more than appearance, it goes through your mind and it affects you for the rest of your life if you experienced situations like bullying in the past and it’s difficult or nearly impossible to let it go even with counseling.
At least, I didn’t make a show. I just smiled and move on. Even with a few emotional lashes on my back, I did the rest of my shopping. And then, a guy was impressed, not about my looks, but about the Fallout T-shirt I was wearing… Typical… just typical.