What’s the Tea?

by Daido Ouattara, age 14
What’s the Tea?

“The movies do not depict what will actually occur in our lives in high school. Furthermore, movies are often cast white characters and the plot seems to go the same direction.”

Movies depict high school like a zoo. You, the audience, react, gawk at the “animals”, the students, that are behind the cages at the exhibit. Movies about high schools dynamics seem to reveal exaggerated hostility between the “popular” kids and the “non-popular” kids. That is something that you are not going to experience. Instead, you will be confronted with fake people from all different groups, people who might want to get the worse out of you. The movies do not depict what will actually occur in our lives in high school. Furthermore, movies are often cast white characters and the plot seems to go the same direction. What the movies do not capture is the diverse environment and how it impacts the character.

In a movie, ain’t it interesting how quickly rumors spread in High School? The secret you thought might have been safe with the main character can be easily revealed by the loose lips of the people they may have trusted. In my perspective, secrets are revealed little by little over time. It can starts from a quiet “who said what?” in the hallways or even if you see a friend in the bathroom and you have that instinct to spill the tea? Ain’t familiar. Well, that’s what I hear often from my “acquaintances” mouths. But what’s different in high school than from TV shows like Gossip Girl is the show exaggerates rumors and fights based on social hierarchy in the high school. In real life, fights are about how friendships are prone to destruction based on something small which may grow into something bigger over time. Rarely is it a “you stole my man” or “Keisha told me that you said my hair ugly,” outburst in the middle of the cafeteria.

There is no social hierarchy in high school it is a fusion of everyone’s redeeming qualities. The cheerleaders are not on the top, the nerds are not being mocked. In this generation, you can have your personal cheerleaders who can be your friends. Even being a “nerd” is a good thing. That means I’m smart and if you’re mad that I’m smart then you can go. Period. The people who have mocked you for knowing too much are now coming back crawling on their knees in confusion seeking your help. Interesting ain’t it! The first day of school, it is interesting how my brain told me how it’s not about the type of friends you make or how popular they are, but my heart was telling me otherwise. Now that I think about it I am shocked about how my conscious took a turn and I was shocked at how It was showing me the image I should maintain to make those types of “popular friends” and images of that person and those “popular friends” came from the movies and TV Shows I have watched since I was a child. I grew on Hannah Montana, Lizzie McGuire or the failure to meet realistic scenarios in life or have a repetitive representation of a blond hair and blue eyed girl. As an African American child growing up in Harlem, New York this is not the life I was living.

“Girl, spill the tea.” “Come on, you have the tell me.” No really I don’t. But of course, my brain just wants me to spill the tea just to see the sinister smiles that grow on their faces and the anticipation to tell their best friend what they had just heard. It is really the people who don’t talk to you on a daily basis You really don’t have to spill the tea. Just keep it in the cup. Just keep it bottled up in a cup. If one of your close friends ask you it’s okay to let me take a sip out of your cup full of secrets because you knew them well, you really trust them. The excitement is the main fuel for people spreading rumors. It’s what causes people to twist and turn so it can really sound more appealing for others and later on that rumor they spread is their satisfaction. But when that rumor that is about you, it spreads like wildfire, people do talk and don’t think they don’t and you hear the malicious opinions of the friends you thought you had that Cloud 9 bond with it really hurt. The shock makes your heart pierce. I know I sound repetitive about the whole trust thing about the trust, friends and most importantly conflict” part but it always in the situation it has different perspectives to it and I don’t know if you guys are like this, but I think I’m always right. Daido knows best! Well, so does the other person and then that’s when the back’s turn on each other. When they start to bicker, not say hi to each other in the hallways, avoiding eye contact in class and feeling the hurt and non-existence of the conversations and laughs that you guys used to have. You tell yourself I don’t need her? Did you cut me off then I’m going to cut you off? Keep the same energy. You may not need her to live, but deep down you will miss the redeeming qualities of your ex-friend that made you happy.

Coming from a private school with a majority of white people in it and making that major transition to a Catholic High School which has more black and latinas you really see the difference in the environment and also a shift in your behavior as well. In this High School when things happen, like conflict, people don’t except for the teachers to just fix it, sugarcoat it and say that everything is going to be okay and move on. The teachers are not there to really solve problems as they were before. It is the students who really take it in their own hands and that’s where the role of confrontation comes into play. In that confrontation often uses harsher words or solve conflicts with their fists. Like when you hear that these two girls fight in McDonald’s over a boy, you’re like really now. Those moments that are taking place seems to reflect on the type of environment people have grown up in or are surrounded by. But I also in this high school, I had an opportunity to dive in a pool of culture as well. I could connect with them on a whole other level, we converse, share, and might even laugh about the similarities concerning our traditional and cultural lifestyle and I have to say it’s really beautiful.

Movies and TV shows definitely alter your perspective about high school. Yeah people are fake. No, there are no cheerleaders on top and geeks on the bottom, it is really a place that will let you shine, but there are always snakes that are ready to attack with their poisonous venom of gossip and envy. They might whisper with their little friends, confront you about something you might have not done, threaten you, lie about you, but just remember those who really talk about you, spreading all the “bad things” you have done are using those lies to cover up the guilt they have about how they did you wrong.


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