I hate boxes. My whole life I’ve tried to break out of the social constructs I was placed into, forced into or even put upon myself.
In high school every year was a new phase. Freshman year I was preppy and by the end of that year I was Emo. The next year I became a hippie, obsessed with Bob Marley, Led Zepplin and the Doors. Junior year I fully embraced hip-hop and rap, even wearing my Snoop Dogg sweatshirt down to my knees and saying things like, “That sandwich was bomb.” I even used the N word to emulate my hip-hop idols and look cool. Thank God that phase ended or I’d look like Chet Hanks, Tom Hanks son… acting hood when you’re a white kid raised in the burbs. (In my defense, I didn’t even know what cultural appropriation was back then.) Senior year was my LA glam year where I could be seen rocking Fedoras and eccentric, self-made “high fashion” outfits. I grew up in uber conservative Christianity, then was super New Age and into Chakra magnetizing, Law of Attraction and Angel/Oracle/Tarot cards and astrology. Only recently have I come back to my Christian roots but actively reject religion. Love is my religion.
Understandably everyone thought I was a fake, a phony. I mean I didn’t know who I was, and I didn’t know where I belonged, which is pretty common for any teenager. But in my case I had a NEED to fully immerse myself in all of these new worlds. It wasn’t until recently that I realized, I am someone who doesn’t want to be pinned down and pushed into a box. Matter of fact, you CAN’T put me into a box.. I’m kind of like Tris in Divergent ;). I want to be ever evolving, fully immersing myself in the places and cultures that interest me. I want to be 80 years old still trying new things.
I’ve fought against the boxes and labels by experiencing the world through different cultures and new perspectives. Empathy has always been a strength of mine, but only recently did I see the importance of breaking down stereotypes and generalizations.
I recently had Huda Quhshi (owner of hijab-friendly salon, LeJemalik) on Sister Radio, and as a follower of Jesus, I got some push back. But what people don’t realize, is even though Huda is a Muslim and I am a follower of Jesus, she is my sister. There’s a quote by Mother Teresa where she says, “If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
We live in a world where we are separated by the boxes we are put into. And if you don’t fit into a box you just feel like you don’t belong.
So, it’s time to blow these boxes up! We blow them up by learning and talking with people who don’t look, think or act like us. We blow them up by celebrating diversity. We blow them up by reaching out and serving marginalized communities. We blow them up through creativity and self-expression, through words of love and actions of empowerment.
Our world is experiencing a renaissance right now, and that includes progressive thinking and evolution of society to become more tolerant, more loving and more inclusive.
Cheers to blowing up the box!
Listen to Sister Radio’s interview with Huda Quhshi here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sisterradio/2017/03/06/beauty-and-inclusivity-with-huda-quhshi-owner-of-lejemalik-salon-boutique