I’m Super Awkward.

So I’m taking this class called “Interracial- Intercultural Communication” and it’s really interesting.  Half of the students are here studying abroad from varying Asian countries (mostly China, Japan, & Korea), so I get to talk to people every week that I normally wouldn’t get the chance to- FSU is not very diverse.  But today I had what I felt to be the most awkward of experiences.

So we’re talking about identities in class, and how they’re shaped, and how what we perceive as our identities can be different form what others think our identities are.  So the professor asks us to write down the identities that we think of ourselves, and some that others might perceive us as.  So, I write down that I identify as a puerto rican lesbian- not really thinking I’m going to have to say anything about it.

…And of course, we’re asked to talk in groups about our identities and how we think that some people have gotten the wrong idea/impression/thought something of you different than you were.  My first, immediate thought is- “no one ever knows I’m gay”– but I didn’t really want to say that to a bunch of people I didn’t really know.  But then I realized that it wasn’t that I didn’t know them. If I had a group full of American students, I probably would’ve come right out with it– I usually revel in surprising and confusing people that way.It was that I was the only American student in the group, and I didn’t feel comfortable telling the other group members, because I assumed they were conservative and wouldn’t be okay with it.   So I’m thinking- I have to work in a group project with some of these girls for the rest of the semester, I can’t have them potentially freaking out about it.  Then one of the girls starts talking about how everyone thinks that Asians are so conservative and that we don’t really give them a chance to be themselves and show us any different, and it’s hard for them because they’re uncomfortable with the language.  So then I start having this super weird, awkward, and unnecessary internal struggle, because I’m like- well shit, I’m just not even giving them the chance to be totally cool with this.  I’m just assuming that because they’re Asian, for some reason that also means they’re homophobic.  But I had already figured out a different example to use and I felt awkward that I hesitated, and I couldn’t believe that something so trivial would trip me up like that! As I left, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed in myself.

Have any of you ever hidden something like this just to avoid an assumed discomfort?

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8 thoughts on “I’m Super Awkward.

  1. Wow that’s amazing the Asian girl spoke to exactly what you were feeling. You gotta love how the universe works! I sure do. As to your question, I don’t think there’s anyone that hasn’t ever been in a similar situation and chose to hide. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I do that all the time actually. I’m in my 30’s and it bothers me alot and I can’t believe it does. I have been tempted so many times to say I’m 29 still and even though that’s no so far away it makes me feel better. I’m also afraid to say that I’m a mom sometimes because I had my son young and I’m afraid people will assume that I am a stupid slut when I am a victim of a longstanding relationship and a bc mishap with an antibiotic. We’re all afraid of who we are. I pretended to be happy in my previous relationship for so long even though I wasn’t happy and I needed out and was actually had one foot out the door already. We conceal the truth because sometimes it hurts, but sometimes we find out that concealing it can hurt worse! Good job coming speaking about it here though!

    JT

    • Thanks for your story. I’m kind of glad to see that other people feel the same way. I think that’s really a true point- everyone’s afraid of who they are, at least a little bit.

  3. I think everyone has at some point in time hidden who they are to avoid discomfor, but maybe that’s just me. Different culture have different beliefs and there is a stereotypes that Asian culture is very conservative, but that doesn’t necessarily apply to the current generation. I know you so it’s weird to think of you doing anything other than going to the tallest building and screaming I LOVE VAGINA, but again that also might be just me.

  4. How would it have felt if they had judged you? When I anticipate judgment from others, it is an echo of the judgment I have inside myself. I have internalised my homophobia.

    Would the school have supported you if they had freaked out?

    • That’s a good question… I guess I really just didn’t want to have to work in a group with people that would potentially act really weird around me. I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin now- which is why it really bothered me that I kind of shut myself back in a closet. My professor seems really nice, and the whole class is about interacting with different cultures and co-cultures , so I’m sure she would’ve been understanding and supportive if there was some type of problem. I guess it’s a lot different being alone in a class instead of having the certainty of being in a group where you already know people and how they think about certain things.

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