I've been bingeing on a lot of Luke Cage lately and if there's one thing right now that I wish I could have, it's his bulletproof skin.
Never mind the fact that he's wicked strong and bullets bounce off of him like ping pong balls. What I want is to have his skin, metaphorically speaking.
See, I've been called a lot of things lately.
Most of them pertain to my personality, my taste in music, my punny sense of humor, the meticulous method in which I keep my bar area clean, my dating life, my adoration of cats, my height, my style, and everything in between.
Basically, all of the little things that make me different, the little things I grew up appreciating, embracing, and believing made me unique and one of a kind, I now find to be the causes of ridicule and scrutiny.
A mixture of jealousy, misunderstanding, and ignorance, these comments have, over time, been chipping away at my self-esteem.
Where once I was confident, assured, and looking onward to the future with optimism and grace, I now find myself struggling with comments that hurt me deep down, comments that didn’t used to affect me, but now hide behind brave smiles.
Like a scab, each and every remark that's fired my way with ill intention and teasing aim picks and picks at my sensitivity, going deeper and deeper below the skin. And every time the scab is picked, the skin becomes more sensitive, hurting just a little bit more.
I have been made fun of because of my love of Hamilton. Told it's "dumb to listen to" and that "history should be kept in the classroom and music shouldn't require attention", I have been left feeling nerdy about my taste in music.
Every day, I get a derogatory comment on my height. Whether my height is used in a sexual situation, told it's intimidating, or made fun of because "I might never get a boyfriend, but hey, at least you're pretty!", what I once thought was my unique identifier now makes me want to crawl under my covers and hide.
My extensive knowledge of witty and punny comments now just makes people roll their eyes and tell me to go away. I guess having a sense of humor isn't attractive for a girl.
My relationship status? Perpetually single and only occasionally dating whatever disappointing heartbreaker walks into my life. I'm made to wonder if something's wrong with me, but no one ever believes my defense that I haven't met someone who moves me. It's not my fault I’m single.
The soft spot in my heart for cats? "Weird. Strange. Crazy cat lady. No wonder you don’t have a boyfriend." Enough said.
My style? I have been compared to in the last month: a witch, Mickey Mouse, a Frenchie, someone who puts in too much effort for the morning, and looking “interesting”, among many others.
I don't know where in my life my skin began to break down and I allowed myself to let these negativities pass through and effect me. But I know that I've pinpointed the problem and that it must stop.
The scab has now turned into a full on flesh wound and I fear bursting into tears at any given time when a snide or teasing comment is directed my way about who I am and what makes me different.
I may not be Luke Cage with bulletproof skin and superhero muscle powers, but I can stand up for myself and say enough is enough.
I am the key to my own happiness and I shouldn't let that key reside in someone else's pocket. I alone can fix it and it requires strength from the inside as well as the bravery to confront my attackers.
Misery loves company, and I know that a lot of the teasing, bullying, and harrassment has to do with envy, which is essentially unexpressed admiration.
Instead of letting these individuals bring me down to their level, I have to remain true to who I am and all of the unique qualities about me, for being brave in the face of adversity will hopefully teach them a lesson in being confident in who you are, despite ridicule and insult thrown your way.
Just because I smile and shuffle the comment away with a shy laugh doesn't mean it's not picking at my self-esteem. People should know better than to make fun of what they don't understand (like, have you ever even listen to the soundtrack of Hamilton? Guarantee you'll like it), and they should learn to think before they speak. The mantra, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it" always passes through my mind whenever a potentially rude comment becomes afloat in my head.
Those little quirks and perks everyone makes fun of me for having are what set me apart from everyone else and I'll be damned if I let them take that away from me.
Bring on the bullets and the nasty comments. Like Luke Cage, I’m going to defend my own version of Harlem (me), and I’m going to stand up for myself and let them know that what they’re saying isn’t going to fly with me anymore.