Song And Dance...
Lately, I've wondered why I'm wired the way that I've been, for far too long. There always seems to be a draw towards something other than the normal and by normal, I mean what people see when they look at me.
I could tell you what diversity means to me, as well as what culture means to me too. Born into an immigrant family, I sit and crave culture which isn't mine because "my culture" is thousands of miles away from where I sit today. There are only a handful of us within my household and my parents have instilled, in us, a sense of respect for the differences which exist around this world of ours.
One of my favorite stories to tell, is about my father explaining to me, "The moment you understand life, is the very moment you understand/embrace culture". Those words have stuck with me for close to forty years now. I share this story when I'm in a room with other who look nothing like me or when I feel out of place, which happens more often than I'd like to admit.
As I sit here tonight, I can tell you additional stories of how I've been made to feel marginalized and unappreciated within my career, years ago, and recently within the last few months. We live in a culture, now, which is all about the words diversity and equality but have failed to truly make this a priority up until it "recently" became an issue (again). I won't take you through a history lesson as much as I'll tell you that I've sat in rooms recently with individuals who've judged the outer shell by its appearance without taking note of the person within the shell (wink). Yes, I'm not a blonde haired, blue eyed man, I'm dark as night, as I've been told all throughout life, however, I'm something so many of my colleagues are not...
Why me when it comes to invites and experiences? I've learned to blend in and learn just enough to feel at home within any circle. Our differences, often become our commonalities in that no one is the same yet we all strive to understood; by all, I mean some who've been cultured.
I was born in a country which was ravished by a civil war of close to thirty years. My childhood wasn't filled with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, or other extended family members. The adage of it taking a village to raise a child holds true; the village that raised me was eclectic and the cultures which make up this village have only made me stronger.
Many a times when I sit and think of the past, I want to share the names of those who've caused wrongs, the level of bad language would cause my parents to show up at my doorstep, asking if they'd failed in some way. I can hear my dad now, "Son, who are you, why are you so angry..." but then again my dad has surprised me as of late, so he'll probably understand more than anyone else.
This weekend, I walked into a party hosted by a coworker and her family. As I parked my vehicle and began to walk down the street, I began to wonder how a kid from Liberia, West Africa has been so lucky to have people open up their lives him. The lessons taught to me as a child, are the very lessons I still hold on to today. I've struggled over the years to find beauty in the person I am but I've learned to smile wildly at the beauty which I'm continuously finding in others. It really is all about the culture.
There's a certain SONG AND DANCE to this life thing, we just need to have open ears and be able to move to the beat of it all.
Feliz Cumpleanos, Senor - Nemi