Issue One: Realisation
I arrived in 2002, part way through year 2 here. My teachers thought I was a shy student, most classmates thought I was mute. I was mainly just afraid of being different. My accent sounded vastly alien compared to my classmates’ Aussie drawl in my 7-year-old head, and God forbid I’d let that add to my black hair and near-black eyes ‘sore thumb’ identity. Although I had a few close friends who didn’t even seem to notice my differences, I was still ashamed of my different packed lunches and the questions kids would ask about them. Fast forward to 16 years later and I’m surrounded by co-workers who are envious of my packed lunches, and I’ve gotten used to getting compliments for the things that make me different. Even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t care what others thought - I am comfortable in my own identity. If only my 7-year-old head had realised not to try to hide my differences, but to be proud of them.