I only know what it’s like to be me. I could never claim to know what it’s like to be you. I can have empathy for you, but I can’t see through your eyes or feel what you feel. All I know comes from my perception of my experiences. I have felt excluded sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly. I knew I was being rejected either by what was said or not said. Body language speaks volumes, especially when you are a child. When the other kids wouldn’t play with me, would exclude me from their games, poke fun of me and call me names, tell me my nose looked like a pig, that I was too small, too much of a girl, too dumb, too quiet, too weird; not one of them, not the same, I would falter and hide. It never really mattered what was said it was how it was said that hurt. Each time I would feel the pain in my heart. First, a stabbing, sharp pain and then a heaviness that I carried around. I could feel the thoughts seep in slowly at first and then I barely noticed but they were always there nagging me.
At first I would fight, criticize, whine, yell, cry and believe what they said. At times I wanted to take my own life for feeling so different and not excepted into what society believed to be normal. I believed I would never be good enough because I wasn’t one of them. I didn’t have the same background, didn’t have the same believe, didn’t have a perfect family. So I found solace in isolation. I found solace with music and writing.
I also found hope through the people in my life. I was blessed to have a grandfather and a father in my life who said pick yourself up when you fall, brush yourself off, and never stop trying. I was blessed to have a sister who listened when I cried and said you have to be tough, you have to never let them win, and never let them see you cry. I was blessed to have a mother who said use your mind to get you where you need to be. I was equally blessed to have an aunt and cousins who told me when I was being a brat, when I was being selfish and when I was being disrespectful.
I have been truly blessed to have a brother who smiles and shows his love by being present and open. Despite his numerous hard ships he still gets up every morning and keeps trying; keeps fighting. With him I learned the most valuable lesson of all that no matter how much the world and life throw at you, when you see someone you love you show it with all your heart, you let them know they mean the world to you and they are important. For him I will always get up when I fall and I will show my love no matter what.
In the end, I realized two vitally important things. First, there is no normal. Normalcy, is some type of illusion that none of us can be nor should we strive to be. We all have a beauty and power inside of us that is harnessed and grows when we realize we can never compare ourselves to another.
Secondly, I learned that I will not judge or condemn someone for being who they are. I will not base my judgement on what they look like or even how I perceive they are or should be. Not to say that at times I don’t want to lash out and judge and say hurtful things. I just have to force myself to stop and I remember the times it hurt when I was judged, excluded or harmed for being me.
I am me and you are you and you have things that I could never be, attributes that make you, you and I have attributes that make me, me. I have the power to move forward, to strive to be better, to climb higher because I am the one in control of me. I give my power away when I feel sad by what someone said to me or how they judged me but I have the power to walk away and keep moving forward.
I have to make a conscious effort every day to make sure I don’t judge or exclude. I have to make a conscious decision to see someone with my heart and not my eyes. I try to see like an animal sees with their senses not just their eyes and make no judgement until a person speaks acts and shows their heart. Consciousness is a choice we make every day whether to be present in the moment or to just keep doing things in a robotic manner. To say things we have heard, repeat and continue a pattern that isn’t working, just because it is how it is done and we refuse to stop and take account of whether it is a good idea or a bad idea.
Revenge is a culture we all live in, watch any movie or listen to some people and when they are hurt or offended the first response is to make the other feel the same pain. That has to stop because the pattern will always repeat itself over and over as it has done for centuries. Somehow we have to learn to stop, to take a breath and release the anger, release the sadness, feel it and move on; learn from it and do better.
To be in this world means to be present in every moment we are given. It means we will have hardship at times and we may not always get what we want, but we will get what we need.
I have been in my darkest moments and a stranger has given me a boost to help keep me going, whether from a simple smile or wave to a nod and understanding. I saw this and took this boost because I was paying attention and my heart was open to a better perception. I found that there is always a glimmer of hope in every dark moment. We have to keep focused on the light of hope and to never let go. It is when let go of hope that we fall into a deep pit that makes it feel impossible to get out.
I learned through all of this that I will not give up no matter how many people tell me I am not good enough. We all have boundless potential to do so many things. We just have to step out of the idea of a cultural norm and bust through to a profound world with infinite possibilities. We start by realizing our own potential, that it is not defined by other people, but defined by our own perception. We cannot compare ourselves to anyone else and judge our own self by what we see in them. We have to be strong enough, to love ourselves enough to get up, dust ourselves off and keep moving forward.
I will try to always make a conscious choice to never judge another for what is on the outside. We all have intelligence, we all have merit, and we all have a part to play to make this world a better place. A more peaceful place where we can be free to be whomever we want to be without fear. We need to pay attention and realize we as individuals need to stand united in our difference. We are like a patchwork quilt where each piece, in all its uniqueness make a whole that provides warmth when it’s cold and shade when it is hot. We must realize that together we rise but divided we sink.
We all have the power to make the world a better place by not condemning people for their beliefs and perceived difference. Telling someone they are wrong, ignorant or bad doesn’t change them into what you think they should be; it merely reinforces what you have said they are. To change we have to show compassion, kindness, and love to ourselves and one another.
In all of us their is kindness, intelligence, and love. It is our experience and our interpretation of the experience that make us who we are and how we act. A dog gets beat by a man every day, he may hate all men, but when he is shown love and compassion by a different man he may find that not all men are bad. So to with humans, show someone compassion who appears to have contempt in their heart, and you may find that contempt was simply fear and a way of protecting oneself from further pain.
There is no normal, no perfection that needs to be attained. It is a slight change in our definition of the world and how it should be and our attempt to force it into a mold which it doesn’t fit that prevents us from growing. Perception and response is everything in this world and if we want it to be a more peaceful loving place we must first look at ourselves and be the change we wish the world to be.