I grew up being a tomboy. I used to play different sports with my cousins, more like brothers. One day, I decided to cut my hair exactly like this actress (I forget who she is now), so I asked my mother to take me to get my hair done. I must have been around 8 or 9 years old. When we were there, the hairstylist offered false hopes for me. I now laugh at that memory. I went home to cry because she cut my hair so short that I looked like a boy. Niagra Falls all over my face. My eyes turned green because when I earnestly cry even the color of my eyes change.
That’s why my parents think I have greenish eyes. But it only happens when I cry. Other than that they’re a mixture of yellowish and brownish color. So only my family and close friends know about my temporary green eyes. I read somewhere that it’s a form a mutation. Pretty cool one, honestly. “Hashtag X-men.”
In public, I try to block out anything that is too sad or depressive because I have the tendency of breaking down. So I keep repeating to myself, “Don’t cry, don’t cry.” Because once a tear is out, I have no control. And that’s what happened to me that day when I returned from the hair salon; I cried and cried.
I had this mushroom over my head, and it looked grotesque. They mocked and teased me at school every single day in fourth grade. Even after my hair grew out, they continued their little evilness. Kids are cruel! Tears. Well, dome at least. But all that is in the past. So not important. As I said, it’s more of a laughable memory today than anything else.
That’s my memory of this unfortunate episode in my life. Over 20 years later I spoke to my cousin about it, and he thought my mom cut my hair like a boy on purpose to make sure I stayed looking like a boy. My reaction was, Whaaaaaaaaaat! I was completely shocked how one memory seemed so different to each of us. Of course, I had the truth and facts on my side, and he had his perception.
Perception can be blurred between facts and point of view. My cousin thought he had facts. He did, but they were wrong. That brings me to the question, What if we are wrong about something or someone? Memories, speeches, conversations, actions can be distorted due to our biased perception.
How to watch out for these things? I feel that the best way to avoid some of these issues is by asking. Imagine if my cousin would have asked me then why I cut my hair like a boy? He would have known that it was an accident or due to a lousy hairdresser.
Have you ever walked into a room and felt, “these people don’t like me.” I have felt like that many times. It could be due to my introversion. Sometimes people have the perception that an introvert is stuck up or apathetic. But by now, I’ve gotten used to this, and the only ones that see beyond my introversion make an effort to know me.
As an introvert it’s taken me years and years to become confident—constantly repeating in my head, “you can do it. Be confident.” So I walk into any room as confident as possible. Because I think, “I am better”? Not at all. It’s because it has taken me years to become confident. Not that I don’t have insecurities. But there’s no need to let those insecurities affect your self-confidence—like Demi Lovato’s song Confident, “What’s wrong with being confident?”
A wrong perception may prevent future relationships. We’re not always going to be everyone’s cup of tea. But before making a judgment or relying on our perception, we need to know a person first.
I wouldn’t even suggest forming an opinion about someone based on what your friend, relative, or anyone else said. I question my family or friends sometimes, “are you sure?” And then I try to make observations on my own. Some people just don’t click, and that’s okay. Your friend, husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend, mom or dad, a sibling could be right. But what if they’re not?
As you noticed in my childhood memory, my cousin had an entirely different opinion. So it’s best to find out the facts first. Why is this person confident and what took him or her to become that way? Why is this person shy? Why is this person so outgoing? Why does this person have their walls up?
And if we don’t want to take the time to know someone, then it’s best not to talk about them without facts. I know gossip can be thrilling. Nevertheless, we can be tainting someone’s image without substantial evidence.
I love the idea of perception because it’s complex. God knows that I’ve made terrible judgment calls at many times. However, with that in mind, it’s okay to make mistakes. What’s not right is not to learn from them.