Dumbfounded, silent and small - Silverton, NSW, Australia - Jemina Shrestha

Una paria in Australia

La mia parte estroversa mi implorava di intraprendere conversazioni, ma, per la maggior parte del tempo, me ne stavo in silenzio.
Australia, Oceania

Story by Jemina Shrestha. Translated by Maria Grazia Calarco
Published on June 7, 2022.

This story is also available in GB br es tr



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Nel 2017 sono entrata nell’aula della mia prima lezione universitaria a Sidney, una studentessa in trasferta appena atterrata dal Nepal. Mentre scrutavo la stanza con ansia e nervosismo, ho visto alcuni studenti che sembravano appartenere alla squadra “L’inglese e la nostra seconda lingua”. 

“Ok, perfetto, Jem”, mi sono detta, “non sei l’unica studentessa internazionale qui”. La lezione è cominciata con le presentazioni di rito. L’ansia mi scorreva nelle vene mentre i miei colleghi asiatici hanno aperto la bocca e ne è fuoriuscito il tipico accento australiano, lo stesso accento per cui avrei impiegato sei mesi ad abituarmi. Ero l’unica studentessa straniera della classe. La mia ansia ha reso la mia presentazione un mormorio incoerente; perciò, tutti hanno capito che il mio nome fosse Gemima invece di Jemina. Non ho avuto il coraggio di correggerli. Così, per un intero semestre, sono stata Gemima. “Be’, almeno ora ho un nome occidentale,” ho pensato, mentre mi nascondevo sotto una roccia immaginaria. 

Durante quel semestre ho seguito quattro corsi in quattro diversi dipartimenti; quindi, non ho mai avuto una compagnia costante. Poiché ero arrivata all’università durante il secondo anno, i miei colleghi avevano già i loro gruppi. La mia parte estroversa mi implorava di intraprendere conversazioni con questi esseri umani che non mi somigliavano affatto ed erano così “cool” con il loro inglese perfetto e il loro modo logico di pensare, ma la mia parte ansiosa continuava a urlare: “E se mi giudicano per il modo in cui parlo?” oppure: “Oddio, il mio abbigliamento trasmette vibrazioni alla «Hanna Montana degli anni 2000»”. 

 Chiedermi in continuazione: “Sono all’altezza?” era emotivamente estenuante. La mia autostima si è sgretolata. Per la maggior parte del tempo, me ne stavo in silenzio. Non facevo domande e sedevo nella parte più anonima dell’aula: il centro. Lì, evitavo lo sguardo interrogativo dei professori, rivolto alle prime file, e stavo alla larga dalle persone più “cool”, che sedevano nelle ultime file e facevano domande con tono ribelle. 

Ma, un giorno, ero molto in ritardo e mi sono seduta nell’unico posto disponibile, vicino a una ragazza che non conoscevo. Tutto quel correre aveva rilasciato nel mio corpo una scarica di dopamina e ho cominciato una conversazione senza pensarci. Con mia sorpresa, la ragazza ha riso alle mie battute e mi ha risposto! Ho pensato: “Aspetta! Una bella e intelligente australiana ha appena riso alle mie battute. Il mio inglese farfugliato ha senso per lei? Non sono così stupida come credevo di essere?”

A quanto pare, ero più che semplicemente “non stupida”. Con l’impegno, mi sono spinta fuori dal circolo ristretto in cui mi avevano confinato le mie insicurezze. Ho cominciato a parlare liberamente con una o due persone che sedevano accanto a me a lezione. Poi, un po’ alla volta, ho racimolato il coraggio di parlare davanti a tutti quando il professore chiedeva la nostra opinione. Il mio cuore tremava, e sentivo il suo battito risuonarmi nelle orecchie, ma, nonostante questo, avevo il coraggio di dire la mia. Ho cominciato a capire che la mia paura di venire giudicata esisteva soltanto nella mia immaginazione. Alla maggior parte delle persone non importava come parlavo o come mi vestivo o come mi comportavo. Alcuni consideravano persino il mio punto di vista interessante. 

I miei pensieri negativi avevano creato un confine immaginario tra me e gli “altri”. Per mesi mi ero autoesclusa. Mi ero resa una paria. 

Caro lettore, spero che la mia storia ti aiuti ad avviare quella conversazione, a condividere la tua opinione anche con l’accento più marcato, e, soprattutto, a essere te stesso. Ne vale la pena.


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Jemina Shrestha

Jemina Shrestha

I am a human being who gets caught up in human doing a lot and I am working my way to find that balance between being and doing. I recently graduated with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Management and am looking forward to getting my Graduate degree. I absolutely love yoga, hiking, and taking myself out to explore the best cafes in the cities I visit. I work as a part -time barista and receptionist, and I thoroughly enjoy the experience of meeting people from all walks of life.

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