It Was My Favorite
I stared at the coloring page of a pink unicorn with beautiful purple hair. A drawing I felt so proud and yet so ashamed of. It was a reminder of who I truly was and who I had fought so hard to repress. It caused immense internal pain to look at the drawing. Feelings of shame and guilt that I had not felt in so long resurfaced. The shame of knowing that I cannot let go of that side of myself and guilt that I still held on to that piece of paper. I simply could not live up to what society expected me to be. It made me feel like a failure. I didn't want to look at that image any longer so I stood up from my bed and walk towards the open closet door, ignoring my image in the mirror. I didn't want to look at myself and be reminded of the fake I was. The image I would see in the mirror did not represent who I was. The coloring page is who I was. I took out a shoe box an placed the coloring page back inside. Back inside the darkness. Hidden, as if that made all my problems disappear. No matter how much I tried to forget I still remembered the day I colored that page. A day of happiness and tragedy. I was eight years old...
It was raining outside so we were going to do some fun creative activities inside the classroom. My third grade teacher Ms. Trayvon, put a movie on the projector and had us sit on the rug. However, after noticing that many students were not paying attention she printed out coloring sheets and passed them out. I took one and saw it was the outline of a unicorn. I immediately envisioned a majestic pink unicorn with purple hair and a pink horn.
I was sitting down with my friend Fernando, who offered to grab us some colors from the "artsy art bin". I assumed he was going to grab every single color however, when he came back he set only 5 colors on the table: red, black, brown, indigo, and blue. I told him I needed more colors and went to pick out light pink, fuschia, liliac, purple, and violet colored pencils and markers from the bin. I was going to set them along with the other colors Fernando had brought for us. However, without even looking up and while furiously coloring, Fernando simply said that he had all the colors he needed. I took a peek at Fernando’s coloring and saw that he was coloring his unicorn black with some red spots throughout. Probably some spiderman inspired theme since he was obsessed with the cartoon.
I decided to outline my unicorn in the fuschia color. Everything except the hair, which was a deep intense purple, was pink. A small smile spread across my face as I saw how beautiful my sheet was turning out. I felt very proud of it and couldn’t wait to show my mom.
As I was coloring the last empty spots of the unicorn’s body, Fernando looked over at my sheet. I was going to ask him what he thought of it when he suddenly exclaimed,
“Oh my gosh! Why is your unicorn pink!? That is so gay!”
Soon everyone in the classroom turned to look at me. I saw some guys snickering and whispering to each other saying stuff like
“Louie is gay?”
“Eww pink is for girls...”
I even saw some of the girls give me a stinky eye.
I immediately felt ashamed of my coloring. I didn’t know what gay meant but from their reactions and tone of voice I assumed it must be something awful.
I was hoping the teacher would notice but she was busy arranging a meeting with a parent. Thankfully, the bell rang so she hung up and reminded us of the homework we had for the weekend. She wished us a fun weekend and dismissed us. I quickly put my drawing into my backpack not caring if it was wrinkling. I just wanted to get home as soon as possible. I ran to the school bus stop to avoid saying goodbye and being humiliated by any of my classmates.
As soon as a opened to door to my house I got a sniff of my mom's cooking. She was making my favorite breaded chicken with orange rice recipe.
“Hi Louie! How was your day!”
“It was okay mom.”
My mom looked over at me with a concerned face. I simply smiled back to make it seem as if I were okay. She smiled back and said that the food should be ready in ten minutes.
I then went to the little shelf of books that we have in the living room. I searched for a dictionary. After searching through several books I found one. I went straight to the G section.
Happy, cheerful, bright.
I felt a bit confused because I expected it to have some awful meaning. But soon, the confusion was replaced by a small surge of happiness. I put the dictionary back and went to my room. I took the coloring sheet out of my backpack. There were some wrinkles which I straightened out the best I could. I opened my closet and took out a shoebox where I placed my drawing for safe keeping.
The next day I decided to take a pink shirt to school. My plan was to tell Fernando that I had researched the meaning of the word “gay” in the dictionary and it meant something good. I wanted everyone to know that there is nothing wrong with the color pink, and most of all I wanted some reassurance that it was okay for me to like it.
It didn’t go as planned.
Fernando then started a rumor at school that I was a “girly girl”. It was from this moment that the bullying started.
Food was thrown at me during lunch, boys tried to trip me over, they were mocking me with a girl voice, and they changed my name to Louisa.
After a two weeks of taunts I decided that I would no longer wear pink or use pink crayons in excess. I decided to forget my love for it.
I am now 13 years old and to this day I do not own a single piece of pink clothing in my closet. All my clothes are the “typical” manly colors, men are expected to wear.
Sometimes when my mom goes shopping, I join her and she often shows me pink shirts that she thinks I would love. I turn them all down but secretly I actually do like some of them.
My mom was always very accepting of me and encouraged me to express myself as I like. But sometimes, that is not always possible. She knows what happened at school and even talked to the teacher. However, I had made the decision to fully change my style for fear that I would be bullied again. Never again would I suffer as the Louie from third grade did.