Day 36 – The Memory That Haunts

Of late, the memory haunts me …

It was a day like so many others. We were in high school – Grade 11 or 12. Young enough not to be terrified of an imminent graduation but close enough to be discussing it.

Life after graduation was the topic of discussion on that particular day as me and a few friends hung out in the girl’s change room. We had cut gym class. Easy enough to do as a young woman. One mention of cramps or “that time of the month” and even the female teachers gave in without a second thought. I would attend class when we were doing something of interest – circuit training or cross-country running. But we were doing basketball and no, just no.

So here we were, sitting on benches, talking the period away like only teenage girls can. I don’t remember which of my friends suggested we should share how we thought our love lives would turn out but that was the question, and so the sharing began.

“Happily married with two kids.”
“Kids, career, and a great house.”

Then it was my turn and in an innocent utterance without any concept of what I was about to do, I shared what colonialism and growing up Kwe in Canada had taught me.

“I’m going to be someone’s mistress.”

My answer invoked shock in my mates, who were quick to question why I would say such a thing.

“I don’t know” I answered. “I just have this feeling that I will never be the chosen one, the woman some great guy wants on his arm at his fancy gatherings. I will be the one he enjoys spending time with as long as he doesn’t have to admit it to anyone.”

And there it was, the caste system, the unspoken hierarchy that had me believing in my bones that successful would not want me.

Little did I know how many years it would take to eradicate that feeling even as I now think of all those young Indigenous girls, somehow unexplainably thinking the exact same thing.

If you know one, please share this with her, so she knows that she is not alone.

I love you!

#ibelieveinyou #ibelieveinme #icreatespace #celebrateandsurvive #repairingfeathers