it’s about the child, not you

Do you remember how you hated each and every single piece of clothing your mother chose for you? You probably silently vowed to yourself that you won’t ever turn into a parent like that and will let your kids wear whatever it is that they want, didn’t you?

But then somewhere along the road of becoming a parent, you forget how it was like to be a child.

Living where I live now, I never understood the Halloween hype and of course I don’t celebrate it (I don’t even know the meaning of this day), but that’s beyond the point here. The thing is that there’s this little girl who had become the spotlight of this Halloween season by dressing up as Ghibli’s No-Face character. The little thing is overly adorable, even to someone who is not a Ghibli fan like myself, and I kid you not my own mother also shared those pictures on her facebook just because she thought the baby was really cute. It was just all good fun.

But then it isn’t, anymore, when a friend on facebook shared a video of the girl at her school’s Halloween party with the following caption: “This will be my kids too, no princess shit please :P”

When we reach the years of rebellion, suddenly black girls are cool and desirable while liking the color pink is considered banal, even something to be ashamed of. Suddenly being a US-UK music’s fan is “having taste and character” while dancing along to a Kpop song is immature (or “trẻ trâu”, to be exact) and enjoying Vietnamese pop music is simply vulgar. Suddenly No-Face is god and Disney’s princesses are “shit”. And as we keep aging, we conform to even more and more majority-approved standards like those. Of course we want to be admired, want to be acknowledged as unique and classy, thus we try to turn everything in our lives into trophies, our children being a part of it. Everybody loves the little girl’s parents for dressing her up as No-Face, but what about her?

Did she enjoy having her classmates running away from her, scared to tears like that? Was she happy with having no one, not a single soul, to hang with at the party like that? How did she feel, sitting alone by herself while all of her friends are sitting together at the other side, a visible distant away from her, mostly because they were frightened and couldn’t recognize her? What kind of thoughts have gone through her mind?

Yes, I am aware that the little girl here probably likes her character – there’s this video her mother posted, asking if she was okay with being No-Face, but I don’t understand Taiwanese so let’s just assume it is what people say it is. But she couldn’t have imagined that she’d be singled out by all of the other kids, that’s for sure. And if there’s anything that I’m certain about little kids, it’s that they want to be surrounded by friends. It usually takes a few more years until half of us grow into introverts that hate crowds and enjoy being left alone.

The reason why I felt like I needed to type my mind out is not this case itself, but the caption from the friend that I mentioned above.

It should be about the child, not you.

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