What it Feels Like to be Labeled as the Dumb Blonde

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Mollie Wagner

"These voices are like butterflies; they remind me of when I was small. I run with them, let them swing through my hair and eventually catch them."

It’s hard to put words to this feeling—the things I feel everyday and the thoughts that tangle themselves into knots inside my head. I have spent my entire life drowning in the echoes of the people that have told me I am not good enough. Sooner or later, I started to believe them. It’s easy for someone on the outside to laugh at my misspelled words and incomplete sentences, or to gawk at the fact that I am what everyone considers a stereotypical dumb blonde. Instead of just hearing these words, I feel them. They make my heart sink every time they’re said. 

I’m someone who has a hard time falling asleep at night because of the words pounding at the edge of my ears. The voices eventually sway me to sleep, but the faces of the people that do nothing but tear me apart visit me again in my dreams. They remind me of why I sit in my car for so long before coming inside at night; they remind me of the makeup I put under my eyes and the constant desire to be better than I was yesterday. They remind me why it’s so hard to get out of bed in the morning and why coming to school is such a chore. 

I consider myself a girl trying to find light in her own bubble of darkness. It’s not hard to peek into my vulnerable side and ask her to dance. Unfortunately for me though, I have two left feet; I stumble and fall on my face when people point out that I am weak. 

These voices are like butterflies; they remind me of when I was small. I run with them, let them swing through my hair and eventually catch them. The butterflies though are not spun together in a web of lies and uncertainties. Those words are not me, but a version of me that gets picked apart piece by piece. 

I only ever have a few choices: conform to the label that those who have never spoken to me gave me, or ignore it and create my own path. Despite popular belief, I try my best. This season of life, becoming an adult and moving onto the next chapter, has been the hardest. Applying for colleges was the hardest challenge I’ve ever taken on; ot all constantly rang in my ears from my teachers and my closest friends. ACT scores flash in my head with constant invalidation from every adult in my life, besides my parents. 

In this time of my life, with these voices, I have learned to wade in choppy waters. I got asked the same questions hundreds of times: what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go and, most importantly, how I wanted to get there. So, I answered the only way I know how, with the truth. As always, I was looked down upon. If I got into college, then anyone could, right? If I beat to my own drum, it’ll be harder for me to join the chorus, right? When I am doubted or looked down upon, I stay to myself. I keep quiet because it is easier than fueling the flame that has engulfed my being entirely. 

To some, it’s a soft chuckle and a “she’s such an airhead,” but to me, it’s running to the bathroom to drown out the noise of everything that I know I am not. There is a fine line between being overly sensitive and reacting to insensitive comments. That’s the story of my life: being called sensitive when someone hurts my feelings, getting told “no offense” but then being blatantly offended and getting called dramatic or stupid for knowing less than someone that thrives in something I know nothing about. 

I have dreams and aspirations, like any other girl my age. When I was five, I wanted to be the ice cream man. When I was eight, I wanted to be a hairdresser and a brain surgeon at the same time. When I was twelve, I wanted to be a neonatal nurse and take care of brand new babies. Now here I am, 17 years old. Restless. Undecided on who I want to be and where I want to go, still drowning under the influences of the people closest to me that tell me I am not enough and won’t make it to where I aspire to go.