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I am a Pariah: My Horror Story


PolkaTagAlong 10 | 186
16 Aug 2012  #1
I don't think anyone on this forum quite yet understands why I am the way I am or how I came to be that way. I figured since many of the members on here are Americans of Polish descent, they would certainly be able to relate about being untouchable when they are in certain places and they have a funny name. Part of my situation probably has to do with my recent "immigrant" ancestry and part other reasons, like the fact that we are working class, but we're more culturally like upper middle class people.

Both my sister and I had similar experiences in grade school growing up (she is in her early thirties and I am just 20). We were ignored and shunned out of basic kid social interaction, no matter how interesting or funny we tried to be, starting basically in kindergarten, although it was far less extreme then. I believe that children sense when something is a little different about another child, and they naturally exclude them from everything. When I was little, I had friends, but I was still treated as an outsider. For a time my sister went to a black school because they lived in the city, where she was basically tortured because she was intelligent and white as could be, while the few white children's parents didn't want their kids to go to her house because they thought she lived in a "bad neighborhood." We actually lived in kind of an interesting neighborhood with the upper middle class Jewish people and the poor inner city folk, some black, some white. Then when we moved and she went to the district I went my whole life, she still had no real friends and what few acquaintances she had would try to conspire against her. I had similar problems with semi-friendly acquaintances conspiring against me, except with me it was about my blonde hair and looks instead of my SAT scores. For a time (before I was about 13 or 14) I still liked people and I believed that if I kept trying I would eventually make friends. Then the reality hit, and I became an angry, surely, confused and eventually fragmented and identity stripped person.

After taking a leave in my second semester of high school, where people shouted for me to kill myself in my face, threatened me if I sat on a certain bench near them, and spread vicious rumors about me loud so that I could hear, I was seeing a shrink because my parents didn't know what to do about my wild behavior and near-serious anorexia (a good deal of this had to do with knowing I had no control over my situation at school), which naturally only made things worse. My parents didn't really understand my situation and I had no one that I could truly relate to that I felt a connection with that I could confide in, so it felt like I was in this internal prison. About a year later, I finally broke free from my confusion and turned into a realist. I wasn't bothered at all by sitting alone, in fact, I looked forward to it. My apathy towards having "friends" actually made people like me a little more. And for a time, I would make jokes and say things that people thought were so hilarious and they admired. So much so that some of the popular people came up to me and said that they never really got a chance to know me, and that they're sorry, although they never made any effort or showed any interest in letting me into their crowd. It kind of reminds me of the book, "The Hundred Dresses" in fact, it's almost exactly like my situation except it's in a different time period and culture.

I look back now and I realize how sadistically I was treated, by both adults and children, and realize how horribly WRONG I was about who I thought I was. I really believe that I am a victim of the monstrous biases in society and that I should see myself that way so that I don't lose sight of things. It's just another thing swept under the rug that is an example of how sick our culture is. What happened to me is not really bullying, it's a whole different kind of uncommon situation. I should have figured this out long ago, but my psychological problems kept me from seeing it. I think deep down all those years I was semi-aware of the truth, and I desperately wanted to face it, but with all the stress of being a social outcast and not completely understanding everything was too much. So basically because we're not of a southern baptist background, we were (and I still am) pariahs everywhere we go in this community and there is nearly nothing I can do or we could have done to change it, because once you're a pariah, it's really hard to come out of. It isn't anything that's wrong with me, it's the mob rule of our sick culture that is what's wrong. Our family has no connections to the people around here and consequently I am cut off from almost everything in society. Now the shit is really starting to hit the fan and I am freaking out because I can't make sense of my fragmented identity. I just can't understand the person I've become, it's not who I imagined I wanted to become in some ways.

It's all I can do but to cling to my "Polishness" and everything that has brought me into my situation. I want nothing more than to feel familiar with someone, which I think I would with many Polish-Americans. We tend to look similar, have similar kinds of families and interests, and sometimes even react in the same ways or have the same mannerisms. Everything is genetic, it just is. It would help reunite my sense of identity and I just hope that my special traits, my looks and my creativity, will be able to get me out of my situation somehow like my sister's smarts did for her. Whether it's attracting a good guy whose love can help fill in the holes in my life by joining in with his friends and family and establishing meaning and connections or having my own business or becoming a famous novelist I just pray that something will change.

When I look back at some of the pictures of myself when I was young it's creepy how skinny I was. I remember you could see my ribs and my face looked so gaunt. My expression was like I was in a fog from the low blood sugar I had. I was SOO delusional about my body it was just obsurd. Southern baptists tend to be fat because they eat a lot of unhealthy food, and I looked at them with disgust and was afraid of being like them. I really wanted to be accepted, but on the other hand there was a side to me that disliked them.

Polkatagalong,Try to keep your posts in the 100 - 120 word range,your first post is way too long.I'm not coming down on you;just asking you to keep that in mind.Fair enough?

I'm not offended. I can't explain my situation in 100 words, and I was using this forum partially as an outlet to rant about things I can't normally talk about in real life with people who are not Polish. Is the problem the amount of content you have to read in the thread, or just the post itself having too many characters? I can break up my posts in the future if that is what the problem is.
peterweg 36 | 2,316
16 Aug 2012  #2
There is a word limit on posts now?

Is racism still ok?

Polka - you need to move.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
16 Aug 2012  #3
I would read bieganski-the-blog.blogspot.co.uk if I were you. I read it from beginning to end in one sitting almost. I think what Dr Goska is writing about might help you understand the social forces that have shaped your life, and maybe overcome some of them.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,651
16 Aug 2012  #4
Polkatagalong,Try to keep your posts in the 100 - 120 word range,your first post is way too long.I'm not coming down on you;just asking you to keep that in mind.Fair enough?

Why? There's no rule against the length of posts - and let's be honest, it's far more interesting reading about the life of Polonia in the US than the rants of some very boring pretend-Jewish girl.

There is a word limit on posts now?

Is racism still ok?

Ah, PF. The only internet forum where post lengths are restricted, but in your face racism is openly tolerated.
isthatu2 4 | 2,708
16 Aug 2012  #5
Horror story???
Boo fekking Hoo......
Dont like your weird arsed insular community,just move,leave,hit the road.
You live in a massive country,make the most of it,and,whatever you do,dont dwell on the past.
Its what you do today and tommorow that makes who you are.
Lodz_The_Boat 32 | 1,535
16 Aug 2012  #6
Americans always have a problem wherever they go. They have a problem when they come to my country, Poland, and they have lots of complains and find way too many things funny or offensive.

I met a few Americans in my trip to India and Bangladesh, and the same story. They found everything offending and tried to hurry and compare each other their own country only to discover that they were OH SO GREAT!!!.

This is really crap and I feel so much more comfortable not being around such people, regardless of their nationality ofcourse.
Wroclaw Boy
16 Aug 2012  #7
Whether it's attracting a good guy whose love can help fill in the holes in my life by joining in with his friends and family and establishing meaning and connections or having my own business or becoming a famous novelist I just pray that something will change.

I sometimes sincerely believe we all take reasonably fair amount of crap throughout our lives be us rich, poor, different, lonely or whatever. When you think about Whitney Houston dying alone in a bathtub with all her fame and money it kind of brings things into perspective.
p3undone 8 | 1,135
16 Aug 2012  #8
Delphiandomine,You are correct,I had that wrong about the rule.
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
16 Aug 2012  #9
I can't see why 100 words would be necessary on a PTA thread anyway. Just copy & paste "mememe!" from time to time, it would save a lot of bandwidth.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
16 Aug 2012  #10
I figured since many of the members on here are Americans of Polish descent, they would certainly be able to relate about being untouchable when they are in certain places and they have a funny name.

I am Polish-American and I've never felt like a Chandala because of my name, but then again I have never lived in the South surrounded by Southern Baptists. Anglo-Saxon conformity is nowhere more virulent than amongst such people and Polonians don't do conformity very well. You have my sympathies PolkaTag.
OP PolkaTagAlong 10 | 186
17 Aug 2012  #11
Yes,the southern baptists around here are a whole different strange breed. Although they're probably like this to an extent most places, I think this is like a freak situation. I've met southern baptists in Dallas, and they're just like normal people, I would never have guessed they were baptists. The famous writer, Thomas Wolfe wrote about how horrible the Asheville people are in his book, "Look Homeward Angel" which was banned when it first came out. They actually still kind of have a hostility towards it.

Polka - you need to move.

I know. I need to find someone who can help me figure out a good place. I'm going to have to save up my money and live like a spartan so that I'll have money to travel with.

Americans always have a problem wherever they go.

This is true I'll give you that.

dont dwell on the past.

Clearly you don't get how it is to be a pariah.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,651
17 Aug 2012  #12
Delphiandomine,You are correct,I had that wrong about the rule.

No worries, everyone makes mistakes - even me ;)

Polonians don't do conformity very well.

Except you know, the slavish adherence to tradition.
OP PolkaTagAlong 10 | 186
17 Aug 2012  #13
Except you know, the slavish adherence to tradition.

Hahaha
f stop 25 | 2,513
17 Aug 2012  #14
wait, you're treated unfairly because you have blond hair, are intelligent and funny and culturally superior? That is outrageous.
OP PolkaTagAlong 10 | 186
17 Aug 2012  #15
Lol that's not what I said. I admit I was exagerrating a little. Girls hate a cute blonde is what I meant and that only worsens my situation. I don't think I'm intelligent, but I'm imaginative. I definitely didn't say I was known for being funny or culturally superior. You are misinterpreting what I said. My whole situation has almost nothing to do with me, it just has to do with the fact that I'm not of a southern baptist background and my family has no connections to the people around here.
Meathead 5 | 470
17 Aug 2012  #16
Aren't you Amanda? You also have had other handles, as you post on here occasionally. Being a novelist might be what you should do as your posts are quite entertaining.
OP PolkaTagAlong 10 | 186
17 Aug 2012  #17
No, I've never been under the name of Amanda. What do you mean I've had other handles?

You think so, really and truly? Wow, that's quite a compliment, that made my day.
OP PolkaTagAlong 10 | 186
18 Aug 2012  #19
SF? Or the Northeast? I was thinking of moving somewhere in Maryland where there aren't too many blacks or possibly Chicago but the problem with Chicago is all the places where the Polish people are concentrated it is SOO dangerous. I am a really paranoid person and I couldn't stand having all these menacing looking blacks around all the time. They have really crazy drivers too. I like to feel safe.
RevokeNice 15 | 1,859
18 Aug 2012  #20
SF? Or the Northeast?

San Fran or New England.

Chicago

Was only in Chicago for a few weeks and liked the place, found it reasonably cheap and a nice enough city itself but didn't venture too much off the beaten track. Traffic is mental. But couldn't comment further. Murder rate is off the scale, but.

there aren't too many blacks

:)

I am a really paranoid person and I couldn't stand having all these menacing looking blacks around all the time. They have really crazy drivers too. I like to feel safe.

New England is one of my favourite places in the world. Proper snow filled winters and hot summers. Chilled people, beautiful scenery, woods and beaches. Seafood to die for(and I am from as island) and not much diversity. Whats not to love?

I am biased but I would heartily recommend it.
Meathead 5 | 470
18 Aug 2012  #21
No, I've never been under the name of Amanda. What do you mean I've had other handles?

Hello Allison!
OP PolkaTagAlong 10 | 186
18 Aug 2012  #22
I was actually shocked that the other members didn't pick out my persona right away. I wanted to see how long it would take them.

New England is one of my favourite places in the world. Proper snow filled winters and hot summers. Chilled people, beautiful scenery, woods and beaches. Seafood to die for(and I am from as island) and not much diversity. Whats not to love?I am biased but I would heartily recommend it.

That's too far. I want a place that has some of the freedom of the south, but want to feel connected to almost everything. Pittsburgh is a place I am seriuosly considering, they even have a little mini Polish community with immigrants who came during my time, like the late 1800s. There is less limited freedom there than in New England, and the climate isn't bad. For a city they have a pretty low population of blacks.

I can also find certain sub-areas within Pittsburgh that are less overun by blacks, so it's not like I'm living right next to them all the time.
polishmama 3 | 279
18 Aug 2012  #23
I was thinking of moving somewhere in Maryland

And here I moved FROM Maryland after growing up there being ostracized for being "that Polack chick". -.-
OP PolkaTagAlong 10 | 186
18 Aug 2012  #24
REALLY? No way, I guess they're more sensitized to it up there or something. Here it's like an unsaid kind of ostracism. They know something's different about you, but they don't really know what it is. If there is ANYTHING if at all the least bit off about your manner or the way you do things, you're almost certainly going to be an outcast. It may be different in the city of Asheville now, but I'm sure the people there are still more of the same in a different package.
polishmama 3 | 279
20 Aug 2012  #25
I guess they're more sensitized to it up there or something

No, it's more like, I look Polish for sure and grew up with a Polish accent for a while and when people meet me, they ask "Kasia? What kind of name is that?" and there's no way to not introduce myself as being Polish with that name so it's right off the bat very obvious that I am Polish. Were my name Maria or something else equally not obvious, maybe it would have been different for me growing up in MD. But in a way, it's nice to have an obviously Polish first name because I can pick out who is a racist idiot right during introductions that way and don't have to waste my time on such people.
OP PolkaTagAlong 10 | 186
21 Aug 2012  #26
What a bunch of lame bigots. :( Kasia is a pretty name.
f stop 25 | 2,513
21 Aug 2012  #27
I never run into any biggotry due to the fact that I'm Polish. Maybe some envy... definitely awe ;)
Same thing here: name, accent, no escaping my Polishness.
Be proud!
Earned me a nickname of Polish Princess.
p3undone 8 | 1,135
21 Aug 2012  #28
f stop,neither have I;mainly people joking,which I don't mind.
OP PolkaTagAlong 10 | 186
22 Aug 2012  #29
I never run into any biggotry

Well you definitely haven't run into any southern baptists then haha jk.
p3undone 8 | 1,135
22 Aug 2012  #30
Polkatagalong,Southern baptists are bigoted towards Poles?


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