This We Believe

Separated by Differences, United by Beliefs

I believe in defending one’s self expression

on February 23, 2015

Nathan Matheny

Dr. Seas

English 102

17 February 2015

I believe that the right to self-expression is very important, important enough to defend.

In middle school I learned that I would never draw any happiness from the replication of what others considered cool. At this early age I began to try and go my own way. During these years I learned about one of the greatest results of self-expression. That being the fact that it caused others, who shared my interests, to rally around me and become my true friends. I found this discovery so significant at the time and in retrospect as I continue to watch others emulate their peers for gratification. This was quite probably my most important discovery of middle school. Then came high school. By this time I’ve really come into my own and know what I’m trying to do in terms of self-expression. As a result, I look different. I have finally decided on my choice of style for clothing, music and other expressive outlets. But my most noticeable attribute at the time was probably my hair; which was about two feet of black, blood red and brown, curly hair, mixed intermittently with dread locks.

Some people loved my appearance, but then there were those who didn’t. Those few that didn’t like the way I looked, fairly regularly gave me a hard time, throughout my early high school days. There was a particular farm boy though; Brandon, who would at times, follow me in the hall yelling things at me. He would tell me: “Long hair is for girls dude!” or tell others: “Look at this faggot with his hair!” He would do this to me fairly regularly, with fairly little retaliation on my part, just because it wasn’t worth more conflict in my opinion at the time.

One day, jumping on his routine, the farm boy walked up behind me and got my attention with the phrase “Hey faggot.” I was already in a bad mood, I hadn’t slept the night before. Without thinking for an entire second I turn around with a closed fist, and there was Brandon smiling at me with his bottom row of teeth sticking through his lip. Once down in the principal’s office, in the midst of the commotion of the police being called on me and the ambulance for Brandon, Brandon raised his voice. He told the school officer not to arrest me: “He was just defending himself” said Brandon, “I was being a bully”. The officer set down the phone, acknowledging the fight had gone both ways. Brandon turned to me and apologized, telling me that he was just messing around at first and he understood that, when I hit him, that he had been doing real damage and that the point of messing around had long passed. I may have not handled the situation perfectly, gracefully or even well, but I am glad/proud to this day that I defended how I chose to express myself.

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