PRINTABLE VERSION >> I Consider Myself Fortunate
As long as I can remember I’ve been comfortable speaking about topics of race, equality, religion and racism. Perhaps I should thank my parents for allowing me to think for myself at an early age. They allowed me and my sister the freedom to express respectfully ourselves. Most importantly they reassured me to the best of their ability that I was no less or no better than anyone else.
As a child I had the opportunity to be around people who were different than me in every way. I played with Muslim, Christian, Jewish, White, Black, Hispanic, poor and middle-class children. I attended schools both in wealthy and poor parts of town. My high school had what they called “International Week” to celebrate the diversity of the school. Back in the mid to late 80’s the school had approximately 50 different nationalities represented in its population. I consider myself very fortunate to have been born when I was and lived where I lived.
After thinking about it I believe this was a significant influence on my view towards others, as opinionated as they can be.
So this little Black kid in Nashville who stuttered (a problem that I’ve overcome), teased and didn’t have many material possessions was given a precious gift to take through life. A gift that is far too often discarded, unappreciated or extinguished by doubt or insecurity, disappointment, lack of attention and support.
When you discover or realize who you are, but more importantly whose you are you are not moved by what others say or think what you are.
Now it is not good to think more highly of yourself than what is realistic. You must remind yourself that you are no better or less than anyone else.
This piece of advice and encouragement seem to have helped me while I was in school, because I managed to just get by. This is a normal and acceptable response when you are not challenged, questioned or paid attention to. You can adopt a sense of feeling less than, not important, inferior and an acceptance for mediocrity. I did for a long time.
I use to think that because of who I am and what I am and where I come from predestine me to settling for what I can get. I can only go this far or achieve this much, how dare I dream of being more than what others thought I could be.
Side Note: This is why I don’t allow myself to get too upset with people who don’t agree with me on an issue. It’s alright to disagree if you do it without malice towards each other. You disagree with their methods or conclusion not their abilities.
Now I say all of this because of all the post-racial era talk we here in the U.S. with the election of Barack Obama. There are some who are still bitter, not just Republicans, but Democrats too. This is ridiculous. The lack of attention it seems many of us give to those less fortunate than us is shameful. The divisions and borders we erect in our minds stems from many things, but one is a lack of realizing our true potential and purpose in life.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting more. I want a big house 3 luxury sports cars, a couple billion dollars, body just ripped like a Greek god and to be featured on MTV Cribs just one time. I could have all of that and still be unhappy, because I would be fooling myself. Now I would be happy with that billion dollars but the question still would remain, “What more can I do?”
Maybe I can take some of that money and go to Washington D.C. to ask for a bailout for Haiti if I started it off with 10 Million Dollars. I’m not Haitian; I have no ties to the country. I’m just a regular Black dude (whatever than means). Perhaps start a truth and reconciliation committee that helps people come to grips with their biases of others. Ironically I’ll break it off into sub-commissions for truth & reconciliation committee on race another on religion another on sexual orintaion and so on. You get the point. What you do for others in return contributes to yourself.
In the long awaited drawn out conclusion to this random thought. As I think about where I could have been, the road that I almost turn on or the mentality that I once adopted I try to consider the foundation of it all. I have no one, but God to thank for giving me caring parents that strived to provide me and my sister with a legacy that is more valuable than anything they may leave behind, that’s a sense of self worth and sincere empathy for others. How do you consider yourself?
“Every day you help mold and develop people by what you offer them. If you offer a person patience, love and forgiveness, they have a greater chance of growing into a patient, loving and forgiving being. And you will live in gratitude if such a being touches your life or the life of your children. This being will in turn be grateful to you and your children, for he or she will remember that it was your patience, love, and forgiveness that allowed him or her to become who they are today. My friend, offer what you want to experience. Offer patience, love and forgiveness, and you will manifest them in one way or another in your life.” – JAMES BLANCHARD CISNEROS