Op-Ed: My Normality and Yours

Selim Ayyildiz

| October 28, 2016

To the person who claims they know me, more than I know myself, you are right.

I am pronouncing the word “pillow” wrong by calling it “pellow.” I don’t eat pork because I’m “foreign.” In fact, you actually nailed it when you shared your very considerate thought of how lucky I am to be in the United States to your friends.

I see you. I see you looking at me. I hear you. I hear you rambling on with such confident commentary about my life. You watch me run around from one class to another trying to beat the roll call, while you’ve already been warming up your seat for 15 minutes by now. You assume that I’m late because I can’t prioritize and I don’t have the work ethics to show up on time. It’s ok, I understand you’re only thinking what you see, not actually “judging.” We all do it. We make these assumptions about people by their daily actions, what they look like and what they say. Unfortunately, we think we know each other more than we actually do.

However, like I said, you are right. You are right that I might pronounce some words incorrectly according to your “norms.” In fact, considering English isn’t my native language and I practice 3 other languages on a daily basis I’m not surprised I stumble upon my words and intertwine my accents with one another. You are right I don’t eat any pork, but not because I’m “foreign.” It’s simply my choice. I value my religion, in which it insists we don’t harm our bodies with anything that may infect or sicken my body in anyway. And of course, your very considerate thoughts. You are absolutely damn right that I am very privileged to be living in this beautiful, gracious and welcoming country that we both call home. My family and I have earned every single freedom, voice and breath you and I both share. No, I am not late to class because I decided to sleep in an extra couple of minutes, but I do value my education and am willing to put in the effort to make it to class even after a 9-hour shift. We’re all obviously striving for that American dream, so instead of making it even more difficult than it already is, start by trying to encourage one another. I’m sure there will be enough neighborhoods in the country for both of us to have a white-picket fence.

I hope you understand where I am coming from, as much as I understand why you might have those thoughts as well. I do appreciate your concern, just not your unsolicited advice. We both come from different backgrounds, walk different paths, and have different aspirations so it’s not fair to compare my normality to yours. You are right, I can learn a lot from you, just as you can learn a lot from me.

Hillary Clinton addresses a crowd of students and community members, telling them to get out to vote early as well as to speak against Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric. Photo by Ben Coon.

Hillary Clinton addresses a crowd of students and community members, telling them to get out to vote early as well as to speak against Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. Photo by Ben Coon.

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Category:Opinion, Society and Identity

I am student at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I am a current Marketing major. Apart from writing for NinerTimes, I enjoy spending my time swimming, playing volleyball, go on adventurous trips, and most importantly spending time with friends and family. I spend a lot of my time helping the community by joining non-profit organizations and volunteering. My biggest goal is to have a huge positive influence and be considered a historical idol someday.

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I am student at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I am a current Marketing major. Apart from writing for NinerTimes, I enjoy spending my time swimming, playing volleyball, go on adventurous trips, and most importantly spending time with friends and family. I spend a lot of my time helping the community by joining non-profit organizations and volunteering. My biggest goal is to have a huge positive influence and be considered a historical idol someday.