• Victoria Chwa

Reflection: “Eh, Your Girlfriend.”

I’ve been wanting to speak about an experience I had. I want to call it out for anyone else who has had to face the same thing before.

I was walking home one night, standing at a traffic light waiting for it to turn green. It was late so I was pretty much alone until a group of boys walked up beside me. It was just me and this group the whole time. It was a traffic light junction so they weren’t standing too far away from me, and I happened to forget to bring my headphones, so what that means is that I can inadvertently hear their conversation, not because I want to but because I have ears. Then, from the side of my eye, I saw one of them nudge the other, seemed to ‘point’ at me using his chin and said “eh your girlfriend”. The other guy then said “fork you” and they all laughed about it.

While I cannot 100% confirm that they were talking about me, given the circumstances, in the face of pain, I could only assume as much. I know I’m not the most beautiful person in the world okay, trust me, I look at myself in the mirror with the same contempt as those boys do. I brushed it off because, considering how far I am from conventional notions of beauty, I understood where their ‘joke’ came from. And it isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me, so at a certain point, you get used to it. But I was hurt. I really was.

I just want to say that words are powerful, and we must always keep in mind the difference between intention and perception. I’m not sure their words intended to hurt me as much as they were meant to be just an internal joke, but that’s the problem. Whether or not you intended to hurt someone, the hurt was still perceived. Intention does not negate action — if your words or actions hurt someone, then they hurt someone, whether or not you mean it. If you’ve hurt someone, you need to be responsible for it. This is something I have to constantly remind myself of. Please always remember – intention does not negate action.

And for anyone who has experienced this (or any form of social aggression that hurt you) before, please know that other people’s words and actions are never a marker of your value. We always try to be confident but it’s so difficult when these things happen. It’s easy to say “just ignore it” but when someone’s words and actions awaken that voice of self-hatred in your mind, it’s so difficult to silence it. But this is your life. This is your journey. Walk it at your own pace. You are always enough. ♥️ And know that I will be here to talk about anything.

Originally Published: 18 Apr 2019

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