Miss Behave



When I was a young girl living in Colombia, I was a normal girl with a reasonable good life. I had a family, many girlfriends and a crush on my brother’s friend. Except, every time I came home from school my mother always asked me if someone had touched me inappropriately. I did not know why she asked, but as I got older, I understood that there were many bad things happening in my country, and my mother wanted to make sure I was not a victim. It was harsh to learn at a young age that I could not trust anyone. My father had a lot of money, because he owned a business, and he would constantly travel. Sometimes my mother would go with him. When this happened, I would stay with my nanny, who was extremely poor and the only woman my mother could trust with her children and house. Living with her, made me realize the discrimination from social classes within my country. The nanny’s daughter, my very close friend, was like my sister. We would play together and I once slept with her and her mom in this little room they had at our home. We could barely fit, but all I wanted was to sleep in the same room with my best friend and my second mother. It was extremely difficult to leave them and go to the US.

In the United States, our lives changed dramatically. We left behind all we ever knew; the perfect family that we had, through my nine year old eyes, was falling apart. The separation of my parents lead to my father’s departure, which scarred me in the cusp of my adolescence. Our economic situation became worse. I spent most of my time home alone many times crying, because no one was there to take care of me. My mother had to work day and night to bring food home and pay the rent. The money she earned was not enough to pay the bills, sometimes. I felt homeless, not physically, but psychologically. There was no more money for toys, art supplies, or anything I wanted as a child. I once got a box of chalks for Christmas, which I rarely used, because they were so precious to me and I did not want them to ever run out. Socializing became my least favorite thing to do. My mother became my greatest influence and I always tried to do everything right to make her proud. I did not have many girlfriends and I got along better with adults. They were more accepting of me, because I was the perfect daughter. I grew up faster than I had to, I didn’t progress through all the stages that a normal teenager would. I was always afraid of making mistakes, so I avoided them. This created a big insecurity in myself and I always tried to be who others expected me to be, and not embrace my own personality and femininity. The constant worry that someone was watching and judging me, overwhelmed me to the point that, if I were not praised for something, in my mind, it meant that it was the wrong thing to do.

More than a decade passed until I realized what I had gone through as a child and how it affected who I am today. I have always admired other girls and their freedom to express themselves and be who they are. This makes me feel intimidated at times, although they are much younger than me. As an adult woman now I attempt to get to know who they are and reflect upon who I am; comprehending that no matter where they come from, society and experiences will always have a great influence on the women they will become. I try to express myself freely towards them, then I realize that I am just like them, a girl, who is stuck in a woman’s body.