I learned that school culture is toxic when I realized that we’ve normalized judgement.
that students have learned for the most part to celebrate only there small bubble and reject anything foreign. Although that may seem justifiably normal- its not when you realize how we’ve defined foreign. Foreign seems to be anything not identical to us, anything that refuses to march to the beat of our own drum, knowledge is power and in this harmful culture power mixed with the i’m always better than you mentality has lead into a downward spiral of unless you look identical to what i’ve deemed normal you are unworthy of being seen, heard or celebrated. We live to label, and label for our survival- because unless we have preconceived ideas of who each person who we pass in the halls is, you aren’t safe. Safety, what is safety? Its being cocooned in your own version of normal and closing yourself off to everyone outside of that because they are weird- even though you may sit within arms reach of them in over half your classes they aren’t in your little self built box therefore are in your eyes sub par in annoying.
I learned that school culture is toxic when i looked at the way we love. In a society where we’ve learned to boast of the importance of acceptance and love, where every other poster you pass in the hallways that look like a sort of hell to me screams of being kind, or supporting one another- how is it that words so instilled into us can be the very words which definitions we twist. “I love you” but behind your back I will rip the very morale values of who you are and choose to be apart. “We’re friends” but only because it's convenient for me and where I’m at in this moment, not for you for me. A society that screams of being selfless is held captive to selfishness consumed by the box that they live in and don’t you dare take one foot out of it because by stepping out of who you are you somehow put every single box that surrounds you into misalignment and suddenly its you whos the weird kid.
I learned school culture is toxic when someone asked me if i even knew the people who are my best friends on the planet. As one who struggled to find friends this was a particularly low blow. I've learned to deal with being called ugly, weird and annoying all the while trying not to accept these terms echoing in my head.
I learned school culture is toxic when i discovered it’s nothing like highschool musical.
I’ve never once eaten lunch with an athlete and if i did i would be laughed at and scorned. One simply action of taking a seat in the cafeteria that i have never ever eaten in simply because i fit into no box that sits in there would lead to months of judgement and a highschool career worth of people allowing that to be their only memory of me. Not that time in grade 9 where i ran them their pencil all the way down the hall when they dropped simply because i thought it was pretty and knew i would be sad if i was them. Never will it be that time I told them there hair was pretty or commented on their post on Instagram not to be fake because I simply thought they were beautiful- never ever will that be the memory of me, because i don’t seem to fit into any box.
So if the first two years of the four that have been deemed the best yet the toughest have taught me anything it's that people will be people they will be fake they will be toxic they in their brokenness will hurt others and that is somehow something that we must, that i must learn to live with and love in the midst of.