© Mantova Outlet Village (photo)
As a 90’s kid I grew up watching and loving As Told by Ginger. Obviously at that age you don’t think things through and it was nothing but a fun cartoon with cool storyline. Being a grown up and re-watching all the episodes brings back a lot of good childhood memories. On the other hand, it helps me love the cartoon series with more depth than I ever imagined possible. Yes, I am a grownup. YES, I still watch As Told by Ginger. It is my unicorn island.
In a certain episode ( Stuff ‘ll kill ya, Season 3, episode 51) the main character Ginger has started high school and feels burdened with the high expectations of school teachers. While trying to step up her game and perform better, her situation is reversed, resulting in poorer performance. The same goes for her brother Carl, who has a “bad boy” reputation. While entering elementary school, Carl wants to turn the pages and become a “good boy” in his sister’s footstep. But his former principle has already gone around distributing Carl’s “File of wrongdoings.” Thus, before Carl is fully settled in the elementary school environment, he is branded as a “bad boy”. His first impression is stolen from him. All his new teachers are prejudiced. He has no clean slate.
Ginger, being a smart and sensitive girl, wonders: “I can’t help wondering if Zorsky somehow expecting the worst of me actually brought out the worst of me. And if same could be true of Carl and his behaviour over the years, is it possible for one to succeed when absolutely everyone expects you to fail? And that said, are the Foutley kids victim of the system? Or just total goofballs?
Recently I also read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
“There were no favourite students. No teacher’s pets. If a student pleased her during a particular period, he could not count on special treatment in the next day’s class, and that was as true the other way around. Each day she faced us with a clean slate and acted as if ours were clean as well. Reserved and firm in her opinions, she spent no time in indulging the frivolous.” P. 231
The quotes above are the opposites of each other.
In the first, your first impression is shadowed by your (former) reputation.
In the second, you have no reputation since each time your reputation is erased.
Each day is a new beginning without expectations. A new day to prove yourself. To become a better version of yourself. Could this mean that reputation kills you from reaching your potential? The word “reputation” is often used with a negative connotation. While “image” is more neutral if not positive. But at the end “reputation” = “image” = “personality”. And throughout the days, months & years, our image is created. Fixed. We are such and certain person in society. People assume you to react in a certain way to things or behave in a certain way.
People expecting you to behave in a certain way, might lead you to behaving in a certain way… You are even made to play the part, to quote Taylor Swift.
A heavy burden of expectations can be the consequence sometimes.
But where is the fun in that? Being the same dull person each day anew…
Isn’t it nicer to explore our personality traits and fully be?
Isn’t it way better to be Maya Angelou’s former teacher and wipe the slate each day. A brand-new start, not only for yourself but for each person you encounter.
Life would be so much easier.
But then comes the question of reliability. How is “someone who is constantly changing” reliable? At a certain moment you just wouldn’t know what to expect of that person right? But that’s the point. Maybe don’t expect this or that. Maybe their change is just their growth.
Yes, I am being an idealist. Yet here I lay wondering how to reach that state of being able to give each person his own clean state. May be by giving myself a clean state each day to “be”?