|Melissa and friends at the hospital|
After all this kerfuffle with the first hospital and finally getting my friend to the second hospital, I began to think about why we could have possibly been treated this way. We are grown adults, not children and not animals.
The only “justification” that I can imagine that these hospital employees had for treating us like we were nothing was that we do not look like the average bear, and believe me, we are all WELL aware of this. Many of us have dyed hair, wear all black, wear heavy makeup, are covered in tattoos, have multiple piercings, and some of us look like we had just crawled out of a ditch (in our defense, we looked like hell because we had not slept and eaten for days due to the stress created by the first hospital). That said, we are not particularly intimidating people. We do not talk to anyone as if they are lesser of a human. We speak to others as equals, not as dirt. We’re not 6’6” juicehead bodybuilders that are all jacked up on steroids and look like they’re tweaking because it was laced with heroin.
We have zero intentions of causing an argument. We just wanted to know what was happening with our friend.
I understand that not everyone is accepting of how we look or what we do or how we dress. Not everyone is as open-minded as the next person. I guess you could say we fall under the “sex, drugs, rock and roll” group of millennials. We have the “bros”, the “gangstas”, the “nerds”; you name it, we have it in some way, shape, or form. Naturally with that stereotype, people make the assumption that we all engage in frequent sex, do drugs all day every day, and live that rock and roll lifestyle.
With these assumptions already preceding our image, it is difficult for us to make connections with people older than ourselves, whether that’s in the professional world, or it’s just a small conversation with the person in front of you at Starbucks while you’re waiting for your Peppermint Latte.
I’m not going to complain about this and say it’s not fair or stop being so judgmental. I want to look like this, but unfortunately, it comes with some consequences, and I knew that going into it. It’s not exactly a secret. What I will say is that looking different from another person is not the legitimate justification for someone to treat him or her like they’re worthless or juvenile. Those are no grounds for accurate assumptions about age or lifestyle, so as the saying goes, you make an “ass” out of “u” and “me”. The other party looks bad because they made an inaccurate judgment about someone, and the target of the assumption gets frustrated and loses their patience and docile demeanor.
It was interesting to me how differently we were treated in comparison to all the other patients in the first hospital, but again, I can only imagine that that behavior was attributed to the way we look. I find that in the younger generations, it is much easier to connect with people because not quite as many immediate judgments about appearances are made versus with the older generations, you need to look a certain way to gain any respect. You need to be almost a cookie cutter image of a corporate adult before you are treated as an adult.
It is an unfortunate part of our society that is unavoidable, but because I am very aware of the way I dress, I am also very aware of how I might be treated. Not everyone has as open of a mind as we do (we still have some improvements to make), but as long as I am not ignorant of this fact, I know that I will be able to not necessarily overcome this larger issue, but I will be able to fight through it throughout my lifetime. There will be no change if I go through this alone, but it might be possible with a congregation.
- Melissa -