Your child comes towards the car from another day in Ms. Wilkonstein's first grade class. Today, your daughter is distraught. Because of your parental (almost supernatural) instinct, you can see the knotted stress in her shoulders. Your child's eyes are heavy with tears as she hops into your SUV and shuts the car door.
"what's going on?" you say in your calmest tone possible. you know she is a landmine waiting to explode at the hint of any instability on your part.
"everyone was making fun of me today because _________" she says as the tears slide down her cheeks.
first, you know "everyone"is a relative term that usually means 'one person's comment that stuck with her - bruising her self esteem."
second, why she is being made fun of is of no consequence ... you will recite the same, typical speech about ....
which brings me to my concern.
what does it mean to "be yourself"? some people believe that we are ourselves if we go against the grain of society. somehow, the idea of counteracting against "the norm" creates a sense of self in people. nevertheless, is that not merely projecting our reactions to the world around us in action, speech, art, even fashion? you can never really escape the world around you. how does this make you different from anyone else? if we become so concerned with "being different" then nothing gets accomplished besides a mass production of stand-out, clown clones.
our true selves ... are they found within social media, hip-hop, and "urban culture"? are they found in Africa? are they found in materialism? NO. true self actualization happens when we acknowledge the numerous layers that construct "identity". Being a woman. Being a man. Being an African American. Being Asian American. Being an immigrant. Being heartbroken. Losing loved ones. Being a mom. Being a wife. Being a dad. Being a dad at age 16. Being from the west coast. Socio-economic class status. Educational accomplishments. Name brands. even religious preference.
but ultimately, "being yourself" begins with spirituality & ends with conscious awareness.
if my child ever comes to me with those dampened eyes wide with concern, i will ...
to be continued.