Diversity is a tricky line to walk. Some poke fun at the idea of a token minority like the character literally named ‘Token’ in South Park, while others like Fez from That 70’s Show aim to do the same while entirely missing the mark. But some characters, like Janet from The Good Place, hit the nail right on the head.
Janet is always correcting people that they are not in fact a girl, or even a person, which is huge for anyone like myself who doesn’t conform to the gender norm.
As a non-binary person, I’ve been mistaken for a woman many times, (thank you long hair and a facemask) and a man most other times (thank you beard.) Both I take in stride since there isn’t much I can do about it, but sometimes I wish I had the confidence to correct people and out myself to complete strangers.
Now to discuss our titular footwear. As gay as the day is long, these shoes grabbed my attention the moment I walked into the foam cobbler’s shop. For, as you may know, this hole-y brand of shoes sells charms to decorate their clogs with, and these shoes had charms that literally spelled out my identity. “THEY”, written on the left, and “THEM” written on the right. Now while I personally go by he/they, for the convenience of others, I saw myself in these shoes. But I did not just see myself, I saw a more confident version of myself. One which could walk the streets with pride in who I am, and when misgendered, direct people to “talk to the feet.”
I often stand out. Different from most of my friends and certainly my family, I feel like the token minority in the sitcom of my own life. Like Janet spoke to me, these shoes did the same. Now I know what you must be thinking. “You bought the shoes… right??” well the unfortunate plot twist is I did not. I could not bring myself to be so brazen with the world as to tell them who I am, and my advice to you is: do not make the same mistake I did. Now I do realize the irony in writing all of this on the internet for the world to see, but here I can control my words and not have to don a pair of rubber clogs to get my identity out there.
Now students, here is your assignment:
Find a method of sharing part of yourself with the world.
Should you feel empowered enough to wear foam clogs, do so, but if not, identify a space in your life where you can feel open about who you are.
Be vulnerable. Whether it is with a loved one or a close friend, or even your co-workers. Personally, I try to share a part of my true self every day with my partner.
Currently we are working our way through the Couple’s Bucket List.
We have shared many an evening laughing over new memories we have made thanks to it, and we both have had some insanely deep conversations that helped move our relationship further towards the next level.
So talk about what happened last night on The Bachelor! Brag about defeating a tough enemy last night in your Dungeons and Dragons game! Be yourself, even in small doses, and in time, more opportunities to be your true self will reveal themselves.
Owen Lock is a Stand Up Comedian and Writer from Barrie Ontario who loves teaching, gaming, and eating pizza.