Sitting on the floor in front of the heater just now, I watched another teacher rush into the sort of locker room to take a phone call. I wondered if the call were something private and embarrassing, like a doctor’s visit for a splotch on his bum or something. And then I remembered that this is Japan, and everyone is always super private about their phone calls, so there was no telling what the call was about… probably just a friend moving dinner to 8 tonight or something benign.
But it had me think of exactly the opposite situation, and how different things are in my own culture.
In college, I tested into the highest level allowed for foreign language my freshman year. So my first college language class had seniors in it (kind of fun, right?).
One day, waiting in the hallway for the previous class to end, so we could go in for our own class, one of those seniors was sitting across from me. With casual ease, she calls her doctor’s office, and schedules an appointment for going in to renew her birth control. No, she did not lower her voice for the call. No, she did not seem the least bit uncomfortable (nor overly confident nor proud). It was just a regular conversation, and anyone around could hear it. No biggie.
I remember at first being shocked, and then asking myself, “Well, why should I be shocked?” So I got over that rather quickly (while she was still in the phone, actually), because she can be comfortable with and confident in 1) her own body, 2) her own actions, and 3) her own reasons for using birth control, and have no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed if others know. It’s just who and how she is, which is completely separate from the next person.
Anyway, I then found myself on the path of openness and confidence, no matter the topic (and I’m still working on different areas of that for myself). So I find it odd that people are on the exact opposite path here. No, I can’t let anyone know anything about any part of my life!
But then, everyone talks worse than our teenage gossip whenever they are told something. Nonetheless, why would anyone need to care, if we’re all comfortable in who we are?