[Things with a story] Flower hairband

I don't know when it started, but I just love hairbands. I think for the most part, it is because it keeps my hair out of my face, but also because it looks fashionable and cute.

Six accessories hair hairband flower colorful enamel gem stones

I still remember how happy I was when I bought this flower hairband during the sale at the SIX store in the shopping gallery, Koopgoot, in Rotterdam. It had flowers in some of my favorite colors: pink, bordeaux red, and jade green. One day, I had an event that I needed to attend and I brought this in my handbag, since wearing a hairband (especially a metal one) for too long, gives me a headache. When I arrived, one of the organizers of the event told me that I could just leave my bag at the side, but that made me feel a bit uncomfortable. I had things like my wallet and camera in it, so I didn't feel good about leaving it unattended and in a large room with a lot of people walking around. So, I kept nervously checking on it, making sure it was not taken. Other people also started to put their bags there, so I kept looking whenever somebody would get close to my bag. After taking my camera out and filming something, I returned it to my bag, while I also kept an eye on the project that I was working on, hoping that nobody would disturb it or mistakenly throw it away. All this must have looked suspicious, especially when you look at someone with nystagmus, because a young girl started telling another girl that she needed to take her bag away from where I placed my bag. I am pretty used to this, but it still hurts. When I shrugged it off and tried to enjoy the event after all, something else happened. When I spotted a photo booth, I wanted to give it a try. While waiting in line, I walked past a table with photo props that we were allowed to use. They were quite simple and not really that special, so I passed on that. But it did remind me of the hairband that I had brought along and had forgotten to wear, right before I entered the event venue. When I took the flower hairband out of my bag, I was standing close to the photo props table. Somewhere behind me, I heard a girl say that she loved the flower hairband and that she is going to wear it for the picture too. I thought it was a funny misunderstanding and I even considered borrowing it to her (although hygiene is an issue for me). When I was in the photo booth, I was stupid again as always and I stood up after the first flash. I always keep thinking that it is four of the same picture. I wanted to retake it, but seeing that a lot of other people were waiting, I stood up and went back in line. I just thought that I shouldn't inconvenience other people for my mistake. Someone behind me was a bit reluctant about entering the photo booth, seeing that I might want to retake it, but her friend convinced her that I wouldn't mind.

Back then, I really thought it was because I look agreeable and kind, but after learning about the history of Chinese immigrants in Rotterdam, I have started to think otherwise. Is it because most people think that Chinese are pushovers? I read about the hardships of first-generation immigrants, who left their home country and didn't know the local language. They needed to work long hours and they barely had any life besides work. They set their mind on earning a lot of money, so that they could send money to their family back home and give their children a better future. In order to do that, they avoided getting in any trouble. They didn't meddle with others (although the bond within the Chinese community is tight knit) and they let a lot of things slide. Some might see it as being a pushover, but I admire their resilliance. Even while getting mocked and having their boundaries tested, they managed to set up succesful businesses and thrive. I don't want to make this bigger than it is, because a lot of people have been nothing but kind to me, but I happen to notice this character trait a lot among Chinese people I know. It makes me think about a comment that a classmate made about me: 'So, basically, you don't have an opinion.' Was I afraid of taking sides and making someone unhappy? Why am I not pushing my demands through? Besides upbringing, I think it is also a woman thing to want to be always liked. Someone also accused me of being passive agressive. I tend to speak up about things that really make me angry, but I also back down easily when I get scared that people will dislike me. I think it has something to do with being bullied and going through life threatening situations. I needed to be extra sensitive to the moods of the people who had my life in their hands and my safety depended on the sympathy of the onlookers. But lately, I have gotten to the point, where I think that it is better to care less about what others think. If there really is a cycle of passiveness that is passed on from generation to generation and prejudices from others of Chinese being a easy target and pushover that gets reinforced, because they get away with it, I want to break it.

I wanted this to be the end of the story, but another thing happened.

When I got back in line, the girl who stood behind me and wanted to wear the flower hairband felt bad, when she couldn't find the flower hairband on the photo props table. She looked back at me and I happened to put my flower hairband back in my bag, as I saw that you couldn't even see it on the pictures. That's when she stormed at one of the event organizers and pointed at me. At first, I was a bit puzzled at why she would react like that. But when I walked closer, I overheard them talk. The girl accused me of stealing the flower hairband (Really? Someone would openly put it in her bag like that?). I wanted to walk up to them to explain the situation, but they were so occupied with going through all the pictures of the photo booth that were also saved in a separate computer to find mine (they needed the pictures of me wearing the flower hairband as proof, before they search my bag or something?) that I didn't find the chance to. The event organizer walked to the photo props table and brought back all the props and told the girl that she was pretty sure that these were all the props that she brought along. Nothing was missing. That girl was still desperately searching for my picture and when she finally found it, she was disappointed that she didn't see the flower hairband in the picture, although she was 100% sure she saw me wearing it, when I got in the photo booth, and putting it in my bag afterwards. The event organizer looked up to me and after seeing them go this far to accuse me of theft, I got pretty disgusted by it. When she turned away, I heard her say: 'I believe you, because she just gave me a dirty look'. This was the point where I just walked away, because I didn't want to hear and see any more of this. I tried to stay at the event, because running away immediately would look suspicious, but I also felt that I shouldn't torture myself to keep enduring this, when I just didn't feel like staying anymore. I waited years before I wrote about this, because I didn't want my anger to cloud my judgment. I also didn't want anyone reading this to choose sides (maybe partially because I always lost, when the girls in class picked sides whenever I got caught in a fight with someone), but also because I didn't do this to shame anyone. I only want this to be a lesson. For myself, because I am forgetful and my past experiences with people had been primarily bad, which is influencing me and my interactions with other people in a bad way. But also for others, as people shouldn't jump to conclusions and always have a open mind. When you don't know something, just ask. Don't just go assume things and think that it is real.

People say that personality determines your fate. I keep hearing that me being so negative would only attract bad luck, but I don't think it is entirely my fault. When I look at the situation objectively, I admit that I could have reacted differently. If I could have just pushed aside the anger and just walked up to them and told them what really happened, maybe things would be different. But I am so used to having my words twisted and to never being believed, that I don't even expect anything different. This kind of misunderstanding happens to me so often that I don't even believe it is merely a coincidence. There is no way that I can just shrug it off and act all friendly after seeing that. Not to mention, the earlier, smaller misunderstandings at that event. But the other opposite would be me getting all angry and starting to yell at them, which is what I used to do often, as continued abuse had damaged the amygdala of the brain, which controls emotions. I think walking away peacefully without making a fuss is already really buddha like to me. They also looked so convinced and emotional that I am not sure if my words would have made a difference anyway. I think they would have even confiscated my flower hairband just to make sure, if any of her colleagues might vaguely recognize it. You think this sounds ridiculous, but I almost had to leave behind my HEMA black marker at an international company student event, because they thought it was theirs. I got lucky that they found their missing marker (from an office supplies brand), otherwise I would have gone as far as taking it to a lab to look for any possible spit marks left from chewing on the cap or skin tissue left on the marker from putting it on my ear, just to prove it is mine. Fellow students told me that I should have given them the marker. It is just a marker. But I hate being falsely accused, so I could not let this pass like that. Even if it meant that I was not getting hired.

Now, I have gotten more at peace with it. I have learned to only focus on things that I can control. I cannot control what other people think of me. I cannot control that they automatically assume I am suspicious, because my eyes look unusual. I cannot convince people otherwise, when they believe the stupid prejudices. I cannot stop my bullies, because they are so brainwashed by lies. What I can do is, calmly tell them my side of the story and just hope for the best. I can also do my best at restoring my faith in people and healing the wounds that were inflicted on me. I can also try to find out why people want to be alive and figure out what my reason is.                     



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