Yesterday I had an eye opening experience.
As an alternative girl living in South Africa, I stand out in a crowd. South Africa is a very conservative country and looking different is frowned upon by many. I get weird looks everywhere I go because of my hair, tattoos and clothing, especially from parents. Little girls tend to love my look, but get pulled away from me by their mothers.
Yesterday I went to the mall with a new friend and we were sitting in the food court. A little girl (I think she can’t be older than 8) wearing a pink sweater came up to me. She smiled and said hello. I said hello back. Then she excitedly said that she loves my hair and my tattoo on my arm and wants to see it. She says it’s very pretty. Then she says she loves my nose piercing and asks “did it hurt?” I giggled and said “only a little bit”. She says it’s pretty but looks like it hurt. Then I look up and see her mother smiling at me. She looked like a very normal mom – blonde hair in a bun, wearing a floral print top, no piercings, etc. She said that her daughter really likes how I look and that she doesn’t mind. This is the first time that a “normal” parent has ever reacted this way so I was stunned. Her daughter then gave me a hug and walked back to her mother. I told her that her daughter is awesome and thanked her for raising her child the right way.
This is how any child should be raised – to not judge people by their appearance. And when they left the food court after eating, the girl ran to me again, gave me another hug and told me I’m pretty one last time before they left.
So little girl and her mother, thank you for showing me that not all parents in this country teach their kids to hate people who express themselves through the way they look.