Hu joined our class as a Vietnamese. Later she became Hu. In Vietnamese “Hu” means “The peak that kisses the mountain lake when the morning fog fades and the morning dew…”
Hu was without ostentation, still and very restrained.
We attributed this to her Asian upbringing. Later she told us that in the beginning she suffered because of the way she looks. She felt looked at and was painfully aware of her extraneousness.
But generally we were ok to her. In the beginning we thought she was interesting.
Over time we got used to her. There was never a problem with mobbing – Hu was suffering because of herself. For her the most awful thing was her eyes which compared to Carmen’s big ones were only small slits. Later when Hu often smiled we were able to see a sneaky face game that was perfect for her subtle humor and her quick-witted irony.
Honestly Carmen wasn’t the smartest but she was able to make up for it with her openness and affection. Everyone liked her. Including Hu. Even today they still stay in touch. Back then Carmen was able to improve her math grade and moved on to the next grade. The powers that were involved stayed a mystery. The important thing was that Carmen could stay with us.
On the other side Hu became more and more confident and was later able to tell us about how much she suffered because of her Asian appearance. But then she wasn’t a Vietnamese anymore but simply Hu. The peak had kissed the mountain lake.
Sadly it’s not always this easy. There are constraints, rules and norms. There are hierarchies, ranking fights, alphas and underdogs. All of us belong somewhere.
To an extent everyone is responsible for their own image. Copies are uncovered quickly. So the original is a better choice. To crawl to the bigwigs and bully the underlings is a bad way to make friends.
The really strong ones can get by without recognition for some time. Self-awareness is being aware of yourself. With all the strengths and weaknesses. Which everyone has.
Some just seem to be able to disguise themselves better with a cool attitude and risky habits. Of course we’re mostly referring to alcohol and cigarettes. Car races, train surfing, hooligan attitudes and altogether gangsta-behavior are also included, to list some of the more severe ones.
Long term, developing real qualities pays off. For this there are criteria.
For example dependability. The good message: You can rely on yourself. Everything else would be bad. Then others wouldn’t be able to rely on you either. That doesn’t just make a bad impression, it’s worse. At the end of the day they will try to find people who they can rely on. Are you one of them?
This starts with small things: Those who are often too late have fewer dates. Those who can’t listen will soon not be told anything. Those who reveal secrets loose good friends and those who don’t pay back their debts loose credit.
Even if in the end you always have an excuse: it doesn’t help: If you can’t rely on yourself then others can’t either.
But nobody is perfect and in the end you can work on yourself.