A Letter To The Boy I Sat Next To In First Grade
Entertainment

A Letter To The Boy I Sat Next To In First Grade

Your comments stung, but they taught me to never be ashamed of being a girl.

33
A Letter To The Boy I Sat Next To In First Grade
Novak Jokovic Foundation

Dear Boy I Sat Next to in First Grade,

Hi. You probably don't remember me, and to be honest, I don't even remember your name. I remember the words you said to and about me though. We were doing an addition and subtraction "Mad Minute" exercise as a class. The person who got through all of the problems correctly first was the winner, and you'd get a sticker across from your name on our class chart. On this particular day, I was the winner. I was very excited, as I got to be the shining student in the class that day. After our teacher checked my work and announced I was the winner, you threw your pencil in anger and loudly proclaimed, "I can't believe I was beaten by a girl!"

I remember being frozen. Not knowing what to do or say. Our teacher didn't do or say much either. She simply told you to go pick up your pencil and to use your "inside voice." I felt embarrassment, remembering hearing snickers from other members of the class. I actually felt badly that you were so upset, and went home that day and cried. I wanted so badly to take it all back, and to make you feel better. I was genuinely more upset that you were upset, rather than being distraught over your words to me.

I don't know where you are today, what you are doing, or what kind of person you are. But I hope sometime over the last fifteen years, that someone taught you just how wrong what you said was. I wish I could go back and have that person be me. I wish I had told you that day that being beaten by a girl was nothing to be ashamed of. I hope you know now that it doesn't matter the gender of the person who does something better than you. And I hope you know now that sexist comments like that get you nowhere.

Only recently did I realize the gravity of this moment. I was writing a paper on gender identities in children when this memory came flooding back to me. Gender identities and their subsequent norms are instilled within us basically from birth. Little girls wear pink and are dainty; little boys wear blue and play in the dirt. While I did my fair share of playing in the dirt as a kid, as did many girls, we were still often reminded that it wasn't our place. In all reality, I don't think many people truly believe that girls shouldn't get to run around and play outside like boys. Yet, those comments still prevail. Just as degradation of women succeeding in athletics, politics, school, and the workplace, still exists. It's hard to change a lifetime of thinking, and gender norms have been around pretty much since the beginning of time, and have only continued to evolve (for better and for worse).

I don't think anyone genuinely thinks that girls can't do something just because they're girls. (well, I'm someone, somewhere does). And I really don't think you do, or even did. Your comments were just a byproduct of the society we live in. Even as a small child, you had an understanding of gender roles, and believed that boys were "supposed to be" better than girls at school. Just as I had an understanding that I was "supposed to" feel that it was my role to be emotional and feel badly for hurting you. If even little kids can grasp this archaic principle, just imagine the ripples it can make as we grow up.

Do you still see sexist comments and actions like yours all those years ago? I certainly do. I hope the next time you said something like that, someone set you straight. I hope that anytime an adult hears a comment like that, especially a teacher, that they say something. I hope that anytime anyone makes a comment like that, whether they are six or sixty, that they are informed of just how wrong they are. Because the more we let things like this slide, the more they continue, and the more things don't change. If you're going to be upset over someone being better than you at something, don't let it be because they are a girl, or a different religion, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, what-have-you. Let it be simply because of that - that they are better. And learn from it, and from them. Have it inspire you. Don't let it tear you down, and certainly don't tear others down because of it. At the end of the day, we are all people, capable of truly incredibly things.

While I didn't really remember this moment until fifteen years later, it's vividness in my memory is proof that it made a lasting impression. Whether I realized it consciously or not, your words that day lit a fire within me. I might have went home and cried that day, but I also remember telling my parents about what you said. I remember them saying to me that I should never let anyone make me feel badly because of my own successes, and that I should never let anyone let me believe that being a girl made me inferior. And I never have since.

Sincerely,

The First of Probably Many Girls Who "Beat You" at Something

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Preview These Top Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2020 Picks — From Luxury Purses To Skincare

Currently 3 million people viewing the Stella McCartney purse I absolutely must have.

Online shopping has been a guilty pleasure of ours for years, but now more than ever it's been a shopping lover's outlet for all our home redecorating projects and resort wear we're purchasing for that trip we had to cancel.

One of my favorite places to (virtually) window shop has always been Nordstrom. I admittedly can't afford to go on sprees there often, but I still get a high off of adding things to my cart I know I'll never actually end up buying. But sometimes, that's not enough — that's when I, like the masses of luxury-, beauty-, fashion-, and decor-lovers around the world count the days down to the annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

7 Things You Need To Know About Our NEW Bachelorette, Tayshia Adams

Could THIS be the most dramatic season in "Bachelorette" history?

Bombshell news coming from Bachelor Nation today, Tayshia Adams is replacing Clare Crawley as the bachelorette!

Rumor has it that Clare found her person early on in the process and did not want to continue with the process of leading other men on throughout the season.

Keep Reading... Show less

The NBA is back, and for basketball fans, like myself, it has been the BEST news we have heard since COVID-19 shutdown play indefinitely. I mean, come on, we need to see if James Harden can once again perform so well he has back-to-back 50 point games, Kawhi can lead another team to the championship title, and whether Giannis is going to be back-to-back MVP... among like 500 other things running through our heads!

In the midst of all of the amazing statistics and records that these players are breaking, though, we also just love the NBA because well, there are some pretty good looking guys out there. Here are the 19 hottest NBA players (in no particular order) you would totally let slam dunk on you now that the NBA has returned.

Keep Reading... Show less

Rihanna is known for many things: her music, fashion, makeup, and now skincare. As a makeup artist myself, I can confidently say that she rocked the makeup world when she released her makeup line in 2017 and has been influencing the beauty world ever since.

Trying some of her makeup products myself, I know that she doesn't skimp on quality, and even though some of her products may be a little pricey, trust me, you get what you pay for.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

If 'Hockey Is For Everyone,' Why Is Matt Dumba So Alone In Fighting For Racial Equality In The NHL?

If the NHL is using #WeSkateForEquality, why is Dumba alone in the fight for equality?

On Saturday, August 1, 2020, the National Hockey League resumed play for the first time since March 12, 2020. The season was paused due to the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) spread and a concern for the players contacting the virus and spreading it through the League. Fans and players sat and waited for the hockey season to resume, which took more than 140 days.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

I Recommend This $85 POC-Founded Hair Brush To Everyone — Here's Why It's Worth EVERY Penny

It replaces nearly three steps in my hair routine.

- Though as a little girl, I had the silkiest, softest hair that would get compliments everywhere I went, since I turned about thirteen I've since had coarse, dry hair no amount of deep conditioning masks or sulfate-free shampoo could fix.

- I started using the Raincry's Condition Boar Bristle Brush several months ago, and while I noticed that my hair had been softer, silkier, and shinier than it had ever been, I didn't make the connection because I never thought a simple hairbrush could make any difference in my hair texture.

- I will be the first to admit that I thought it was ridiculous to spend nearly a hundred dollars on a hairbrush, but this one eliminates the need for me to use any heat tools or styling products on it.

- I put some oil or a serum in my hair when it's wet, brush my hair with the boar bristle brush once it's dry, and end up with the lowest maintenance, shiniest hair I've had since I was 8 years old.

@raincrybeauty

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

What Your Favorite Rom-Com Says About You And Your Dream Guy

These movies are always there for us when we need them.

YouTube

Bingeing a romantic comedy is always a good idea, and during this pandemic, these movies bring us one of the only elements of romance we can get. Through all the break-ups, obstacles, and struggles in our love lives, romantic comedies have always been there to make us laugh and keep us company while we cry.

While we love these movies for the beyond gorgeous male love interests, the female protagonists are still the ones we always remember. Although rom-coms are far from reality, it is always fun to imagine what our life would be like if a cinematic studio was behind our love life. So what does your favorite romantic comedies say about your dream guy?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Everything You Need To Know About Macronutrients, Because A Diet Should Be More Than Calories

Pay attention to what you're eating, not just how much you're eating.

Plenty of people are familiar with the "calories in, calories out" (CICO) method of dieting which can be used for losing, gaining, or maintaining weight. This method relies on calculating a person's total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) to ensure that they are not overeating or undereating to achieve their desired weight. TDEE considers a person's height, weight, age, gender, and level of activity to determine what their caloric intake should be — some calculators can factor in body fat percentage as well. When I used a TDEE calculator online, it said that my TDEE would be 1,990 calories if I was trying to maintain my weight, but are all calories created equal? I'd argue that they're not.

It might seem obvious to some of you that 1,990 calories of macaroni and cheese are not healthy at all compared to 1,990 calories of varied foods (fruit, veggies, meat, bread, etc.).

Keep Reading... Show less

Whether you're in an unhealthy relationship currently, you know someone who is, or you just want to have these numbers saved just in case it could one day save someone's life (if not your own), this article is for you. Here are three numbers to save in your contacts ASAP so you can always be safe, both physically and mentally, in every relationship.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments