The eyes speak so much louder than the mouth sometimes: LOOK!
1 an act of directing one’s gaze in order to see someone or something : let me get a closer look.
• an expression of a feeling or thought by such an act : Brenton gave me a funny look.
• a scrutiny or examination : the government should be taking a look at the amount of grant the council receives.
A person can say so much with the way that they look at you; the way that they glance from top to bottom; the way that they examine you. Since the first winter break of my college career (back in 2008), my style, outlook on life, and overall presence have completely transformed. While I’m proud of the young man that I’ve become, sometimes I look at the way that my family looks at me and it bothers me. Coming from a very traditional Caribbean household, there’s an expectation to become a [normal] guy: the average, successful, working professional that dates a normal girl and lives a normal life (in all other respects).
In high school, I had a great time being that all-American black boy, but college moved me in a different direction; one that I’ve come to love. Sadly, other people can’t understand, much less appreciate it. From a young age, my sister pushed me to get thick skin and I’ve had no other choice but to do that each time I come home, yet while I’ve started to get over it, I can’t say that I’m completely immune to the question of what people think when they do that lean and look (leaning forward and "inconspicuously" looking me up and down).
I get that not everyone agrees with the liberal lifestyle where everyone can be themselves and just live their lives. That’s their right I suppose. To be honest, it’s really just the feeling that [you’re less loved or less accepted because you choose to live your life your own way and not conform] that bothers me. I’ve realized recently that sometimes you have to make a choice between appeasing the people that have been a part of your life forever and really being true to the person that you’re trying to become.
Tonight at my cousin’s graduation, after catching a few of those "inconspicuous" looks, I realized that the latter choice is the right choice for me. I’m still learning to make that choice when it comes to my immediate family, but as for some of the family friends and extended family, I’m starting to care less and less. I guess it’s a step-by-step process. It gets easier in time. Well, I hope so.
[Life as a black sheep… brings some uncomfortable looks every now and then.]
So… just from talking to a few friends and mentors, seeing a number of people actually doing it, and thinking about it over and over again, I’m really starting to think more and more about getting abroad. I’m super excited about New York City, but another part of me is starting to get that same feeling about what’s outside of our borders.
One of the few regrets that I have from my college experience is that I never did a study abroad program and I’ve been urging all of the underclassmen that I come across not to pass up that opportunity. My roommate from freshman year spent a year in France and another friend of mine got to study in the Caribbean and London for extended periods, and each of their experiences sounds so amazing. Now that I’m entering the real [working] world in May, I’m not going to have summers and winters off to get away and see the world, so I guess I’ll have to make this endeavor more than just a 3-4 month experience; it’ll have to be an actual part of my life.
In an effort to work on that, I’ve been thinking about what steps in my career can take place outside of the U.S. I’ve been rethinking pieces of my 5-year plan, considering foreign languages and cultures to start studying, and shifting myself into a global state of mind. I always champion [outside-of-the-box] thinking, and if you think about it, America can be a box of its own; a very limiting, close-minded box that can cripple you if you let it.
With that said, I’m putting London on my list. Brazil (not sure which city yet) is second place, followed by Paris, and Australia (Sydney probably) is right after that. There’s a huge world in front of us. It’d be a shame not to experience it. :v
I got an email not too long ago from a mentor of mine that opened my eyes to what day it is and how much potential opportunity it holds.
[LEAP Day], as he refers to it (or February 29th, whichever you prefer), comes around once every four years and it can serve as a pretty cool day to just do something amazing; something you’ve always wanted to do; something that four years from now, you can look back on and say, “That was fun.” At the end of the email, he challenged us to take a LEAP and do something we’ve been thinking of doing, but pushed aside. It really made me think. Why not start something cool today, on such a special and unique day? I know there are certainly a few projects and ideas that I’ve been meaning to develop and there really isn’t much holding me back.
I hope you’ll do the same. Get brave, get bold, and do something that you’ve been wanting to do. Whether it’s a wild dream of yours or something totally grand and ambitious, do it. Don’t wait for another four years to pass. Do it.
A type of mindset that can make the world a much easier place: PRAGMATIC!
dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations : a pragmatic approach to politics.
I was watching Daria, and Helen (Daria’s mother) used the word pragmatic, which got me thinking about a few things in my life. More often than not, the antonym of pragmatic is [ideal], which loosely means one’s own idea of the perfect situation, but I’m thinking a bit differently right now:
Is it better to look at life and live pragmatically (as in, be the best you can in your situation) or live strictly according to specific rules (regardless of how concrete of a foundation those rules are built on)?
From a spiritual standpoint, life can be very confusing, especially when religious convictions come into play. There are thousands, even millions, of different perspectives on what life as a Christian truly means and the right way to live it, but how can any of us feel truly certain that we’re doing it right? The bible comes with so many rules, both big and small, and it’s hard keeping up with them all. Some argue that each of these rules should be obeyed without deviation, while others believe that we just have to have faith and be the best we can be. One of them has to be wrong, right? Whichever one is wrong either misses out on enjoying certain elements of this life or the life that waits after. It’s a big risk.
I’d like to think that the latter perspective above, based in pragmatism, is the right one, but the fact that it might not be is discomforting. Hmm… Time will tell. In the meantime, choices have to be made.