The other day I was sitting in my usual spot in the library, which is a hidden corner wedged between two small bookshelves. If you’re lucky enough to be able to fit though the crack between them (and are short enough not to be seen), you get a spot completely to yourself where no one can bother you. I was catching up on some much needed reading and enjoying my favourite smell of musty paper and the absolute comfort of complete silence that my reading corner gives me, when all of the sudden I see a blonde pony tail and two blue eyes peering over the shelf, staring at me.
I absolutely HATE being interrupted while I’m reading and if this blonde pony tail and two blue eyes belonged to an adult and not to a 5 year old little girl, I probably would have given her the stink eye and asked her to leave me alone. But I couldn’t give a little girl the stink eye because that would make me kind of an asshole.
“Hi.” She says to me.
Well. I guess I am not reading today.
“Hi,” I say. “What’s your name?”
“My name is Hannah. What is your name?” Her voice was so quiet and sweet, she could make Snow White sound like a redneck trucker. She spoke so properly and had the softest, cutest voice in the entire world.
“I’m Danielle.” I put my book down revealing the cover towards Hannah which had a picture of a baby chicken on it.
Hannah’s eyes widened, “Do you know your book has a chicken on it?”
I’m taken by surprise at her question, “…Yes, I do. That’s why I wanted to read it.”
That was not why I wanted to read it but I wanted this conversation to end so badly because “stranger danger” is a thing and me talking to a little girl while in a very confined and hidden corner makes me look like a dangerous stranger. I was trying to give Hannah dry answers in hopes that she would stop being interested in me and my book and that she would eventually walk away but then, Hannah lets out a giant gasp that sounded as though she had just watched me throw a puppy off of a roof.
“Do you eat chickens?! Because my mom says that eating chickens is bad! Do you kill chickens?! Because that’s really bad! If I ever saw someone kill a chicken I would probably cry! I will never kill a chicken and I will NEVER eat a chicken!”
I want to leave.
I am uncomfortable.
I am terrified of Hannah.
Hannah’s sweet, little, church mouse voice starts to get louder and louder and louder. She reaches a Godzilla level of loud when her mother finally decides to be a parent and finds her daughter and tells her to quiet down.
“And who are you talking to?” Her mother asks her.
That’s when she looks down and sees me slumped in my “secret” corner, looking like a deer in headlights as I stare at her and her child in utter bewilderment.
Hannah’s mom was super apologetic and felt so bad about her child “disturbing the peace and quiet” and she hoped that, “Hannah wasn’t too much of a bother.” I was really appreciating the apology and was actually starting to like this weird duo of people but then she said, “Hannah is really passionate about veganism and I’m so happy she was able to share it with you!”
Hannah’s mom then hands me a sticker that has a cartoon picture of a chicken on it that says, “I am not a nugget!” in big bold letters.
Never in my life have I been so stunned. In an alternate universe I would like to think I would have told her how insane I think she was and mention how the louis-vutton purse she was carrying was made out of leather, which in case she didn’t know, involved killing and skinning a cow. But in this universe I was way too nice and thanked her and even complimented her shoes. Because she was wearing the exact same pair of shoes that I was which caused me to have an existential crisis.
I have become one of them. I thought to myself. And by one of them, I didn’t mean a vegan because I might go into a subhuman state if I could never have stake or chicken nuggets or cheese ever again. I had become one of them meaning I had become a true white girl.
I had always said to myself that just because I was biologically white and a female did not give me the excuse to act like a stereotypical white female.
For years I had convinced myself that if some doula ever told me that I needed to eat avocado toast in a bath of quinoa while drinking a starbucks frappuchino, or anything that sounded remotely too white for my brain to process, that I would straight up punch her in the face. Well, I met that doula in the library that day and I did not straight up punch her in the face. Instead, I complimented her shoes because I was wearing the same ones as her. Because I was just like her. Because I was an ultimate white girl.
After Hannah and doula left me to read (finally), my existential crisis went full force and I couldn’t help but think if I had said or done anything remotely that white in the past and then I remembered that I let these phrases leave my lips:
- I’m making avocado toast. Want some?
- Hot yoga was so amazing today, oh my god. I feel so detoxified.
- Can you pass the quinoa?
- I just spent $200 in Victorias Secret
- I feel sooooo good right now. Oh my god lets get booster juice.
- I just finished season 3 of Gossip Girl
- Is this fat free?
- How many carbs did I eat today?
- I need Starbucks
- Does your iPhone battery drain as fast as mine does?
- That dog is so cute oh my god. I can’t even.
- I’ll be ready in like, 10 minutes. I promise.
In hind sight, these phrases are white but not, “crazy white-person” white. And what do I mean by that?
Non-Crazy White Person:
- drinks starbucks coffee
- has a pinterest account
- participates in hot yoga
- addicted to her iPhone and macbook
- complains about the humidity ruining her hair
Crazy White Person:
- thinks “free-range parenting” is parenting
- make their pets wear clothing
- only eats salads
- gives out chicken stickers promoting veganism to complete strangers
- spends $2000 on a purse
I think the difference is pretty clear.
I have come to terms with myself being a full white girl and if you’ve evolved into full white girl mode too, there’s no shame in it. Unless you’re allowing your 5 year old to become vegan. Then you’ve entered full on white person crazy town and might just be called a doula on the internet.