“A child comes into this world with no concept of race, no language and no means of communicating except through crying. Crying because they’re sick, they need a nappy/diaper change or they need attention.”
6 years old:
I have been told to behave. I have come to learn the word from a young age because it’s often a word shouted at or told to me.
Behave! Is what I hear when I am wanting to play with my friends outside and the yellow vans are riding up and down my street.
“If you don’t behave the police will pick you up and throw you in jail!” Jail? I’ve come to the conclusion that it can’t be a nice place seeing as everyone who doesn’t behave is threatened with being sent there.
“You had better behave,” I’m told by a nun who for some odd reason doesn’t like me and often sends me to the vice-principal for six of the best.
“Will you stop misbehaving?” I’m asked by the vice principal as he hits his cane over my bony hands. 3 across the left hand and 3 across the right hand, while my eczema that I suffer from splits open.
“Please behave, we are going into town where white people live,” my aunt implores me. Those children always behave and we don’t have to behave like animals. Animals? After laughing on the bus? I am sitting as quietly as I can diary and am excited to spend the day away from the tiny house we live in.
So today I saw houses that look like castles in the books I read. One day Dear Diary, I will live in one of those houses and it will have big windows to bring in the sunshine. It won’t be dark and it won’t be small. I had better behave and do my homework though and work hard so one day when I grow up, I can live in a big house.
“Your daughter hit my son and she needs to apologize to him”, a woman down the road complains to my mom. My mom called me and with tears in her eyes she insisted I apologize to James’s mom for hitting James. I refuse and I am dreading the hiding I will receive later.
“Why can’t you behave?”
“Why do you have to be so difficult?”
“But mom” I try to explain.
“I don’t want to hear it!” She screams.
Dear Diary, can I tell you that I hit him because he tried to kiss me. I didn’t want him to but he did it anyway so I hit him and he cried and told his mom.
My mom sent me to bed and now I am crying. Why isn’t anyone listening to me?
“You’re ugly and your hair is funny,” says a girl in my class that has long hair like Rapunzel. Why do I not have hair like hers? Her hair is beautiful and if I had hair like that or a fair skin like Snow White, I would be beautiful.
Dear Diary, I got caned again yesterday for not having polish on my school shoes. I don’t like being poor because people look at me in a funny way. Maybe, I’m poor because my dad left and my mom says he doesn’t help her with money.
I wish we were rich and had 3 bedrooms. I don’t mind sharing with my sister. We could talk the whole night and mom would think we were sleeping but our bedroom door would be closed so no one would come in unless we said it’s ok after they knock. I have seen it on tv; cute girls with long hair and fair skin in their own bedroom. I don’t understand why we don’t have a lounge? Why are we in this one room when there are five of us?
Dear diary, its Christmas time and mom took us to the hairdresser to have our hair done. I had to sit under a hairdryer for so long and it was hot but my hair looked so nice and neat when the hairdresser brushed it out. I like my hair like this. I looked in the mirror and actually felt beautiful.
If only it would stay like this.
Dear diary, today as we collected our school reports, the principal told me to tell my mom that she owes the school money. The children in my class laughed and teased me about it during break time so I had to go to the vice principals office again because I hit them.
Dear Diary, its school holidays and next year I will be going to Grade 2. I wish the days could fly because there is little food and I’m hungry.
Let me drink some water to fill my stomach.
I have new friends now, so I am going outside to play.
See you next year Diary!
I love you.
Part 2 to follow…