I wrote a column last week giving advice to freshmen, and one of the first things I told them was that it’s okay to be homesick. I tried to be a little funny and serious at the same time by adding that it’s normal to call your mom crying at some point during your first semester. Maybe this only happened to me. Maybe it was a slight exaggeration and me trying to be funnier than I really am. Or maybe everyone gets homesick.
I was more than a little offended when someone who read my column told me it was really good, but the part about crying home to mom sounded “like a girl thing.” For one, I am a female, so … I don’t know, “girly” statements find their way into my writing? Maybe. Let’s talk about stereotypes.
Yes, girls get emotional. Women get emotional. But so do men. Perhaps they don’t show it as often or as outwardly as women do because society tells them they are supposed to “tough it out” and “keep it together, man.” But I do that, too. Rarely do you see me with anything but a confident smile on my face as I walk around campus. Most of the time, yeah, I’m genuinely happy, but there are days I don’t even want to get out of bed. But I eventually do. And I put a smile on my face because God forbid someone ask me, “What’s wrong, Carlie?” I can tell you it wasn’t easy to basically admit to the entire campus through my column that I did, in fact, cry on the phone to my mom freshman year (like a lot, too).
All I’m trying to say is think before you speak. There are so many stereotypes that we don’t even realize we hold in our minds that sometimes creep out into what we say. We don’t always realize that something we say will be offensive. I’m guilty of putting my foot in my mouth, probably on a daily basis. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl and I talk too much … and maybe everyone gets homesick.