I am a calm person when I face the world. My freak-outs if any happen inside my head, where no one can hear them. I’ve tried having conversations with people about being Indian, but most times I find it falls on deaf ears. People are going to believe what they want. I used to get so worked up when I would chat with people about the native cause (what’s the conflict, what’s the argument, is it the struggle to be Indian?). I think it made me realize how little I knew. Growing up, I was from a tiny logging village, where everyone knew everyone’s business. There were no color barriers, there was no separation. You lived with these people all your life. You knew them you knew there story, there was no freak out to be had. When it was time for me to go off to University though, that’s when I realized how different the world was.
“Hi, I’m Stacy” , this perky curly haired girl met me as I opened the door to my dorm room. Great I thought my arms were filled with boxes, I just wanted to get in. She on the other hand wanted to know all about me as we were to become best friends. You know college is where life long friendships are made she told me.
I sat listening as Stacy droned on about her life back home and her future plans. I was astonished when she talked about how she went to church every Sunday and that it was some religion that I had never thought about before. She then asked “So you know they have a native cultural center here on campus, I visited when we did our tour, it seems like so much fun, I am so jealous of you! Oh, I’m sorry, you’re Indian right? I didn’t mean to be presumptuous, but I think they’ll let you in. I asked if I could become a member, but they told me I needed to show my card to get in. Weird eh?” I sat there in stunned silence, I’m sorry what did you mean, what was all that about? Sure I’m Indian, but what? Huh? I didn’t even think to see if there was an Indian cultural center, wtf was it? “
You see, I always knew I was Indian, but it was just who I was. I never thought of the definition of it, where I came from, who belonged, who was who. Oh, you’re brown, you’re Indian, we’re the same. This notion of a cultural center was foreign to me, but I thought what the heck, this is college after all, I am here to learn, to grow.
Brown means Indians to Wanda, what if you get lighter? Is it based on colour, being recognizable? What does it take to be a freak-out? GPS on my emotions (love that expression) The higher the stakes, the more comedic it becomes. The obsurdity of the circumstances. You lose all reason, that you are trying to desparetly get what is lacking.
Describe the apex moment: My internal breakdown of wondering who the heck I was supposed to be.
Chapter title of this freak-out: Realizations.