Social Biases

I am a firm believer that we are more than meets the eye. I believe we are more than one person.
There is who we see ourselves as and who we try to be. Then there is us. This is the true us. This is where we decide our favorite color. This is where we store our favorite memories. This is where we find our love for music and our favorite songs and we enjoy them regardless to what the rest of the crowd might say.

This is us. This is the part of us that thinks and feels emotion. This is the part that try as we might, feels an undeniable attraction to people, right or wrong, but either way, there is a place inside of us that does not like or love within the margins of right or wrong.
No, this is where love is love, desire is desire, and true attraction is unaware and unsilenced by social majority or popular opinion.

There was a time in my life when I wore my image like a sleeve. This was me. My image was my rebellion. This was my method of self-defense. As a means of self-preservation, I kept my secrets close to me in fear they could seep out and be seen, or worse, be used against me somehow and leave me vulnerable.

There was a published piece of mine about a man that underwent intense and cruel physical abuse. This was him. The character was fictional, yes; however, the character was based on several people I interacted with throughout my journey.
I admit to the true violence in this story, which, although fictional, the fiction was still true.

I was pulled aside into a room at work by a very big man, angry, not too friendly, but he was always kind to me. He asked me how I knew.
“Knew about what?” I asked.
He wanted to know if the main character was me.
“How do you know what that feels like?”
“That wasn’t about me,” I explained.
“Yes it was. You knew.” He said.

This was a man that in a street level argument could hold his own. He was a hard man with heavy hands and a hard background, and yet, standing in front of me, he was a big overgrown kid, about to spill a secret that he kept close to him.
Teary-eyed, the man hugged me the way a brother would hug his younger sibling and quietly said to me, “If you ever need anything . . .you come and see me,”

We are not always what we appear to be. I am more then what people see. I am more than my looks or my appearance; however, my looks and my appearance are descriptions of me. I understand this. My talent and my dreams have no face that you could see, My heart and my feelings are invisible to others. I get this,

We can classify all we choose. We can categorize people and tell a little about them by the music they enjoy or the drinks they drink or the activities they share. We can learn about them but deep down, there is a core person that lives and breathes and feels regardless to race, religion, or sexual orientation.

I ever tell you about the time I did a presentation in a library?

There was a group from a nearby retirement home that came to listen. Sitting up front was an elderly woman. She was not shy about sharing her opinion with me. She did not like tattoos.
Well, I have a lot of them. Actually, I only have one but the one I have is just incorporated and takes up most of my upper body.
This was all the woman saw. In fact, this was all the directors at the library saw when they first met me. I suppose there was a bias in the room. Perhaps there was a curiosity to see what I was going to say.

I was not a biker story or a rocker story. I did not discuss a story of violence or glorify the romance of the drug culture, which seems to still grow in spite of the warnings and statistics of people that die.

After I spoke, the woman approached me. She told me all she saw was tattoos in the beginning. After a while though, according to the elderly woman, all she saw was a young man pleading with people and opening his heart.

Of all things, I cannot recall any compliment more memorable than this. Of all times, I like to remember this one clearly because Mom was there to see my presentation.
She was sitting in the back, shouting to me up front, and telling me which story I should tell next.
I admit this was embarrassing at the time but Mom has moved on since then. I miss her. And I would gladly accept any of the embarrassing stories she might expose in front of a crowd. Even the one about the feetie monsters or the tie I rode my tricycle down the stairs.

There is a question I heard a man ask a child that was born differently from other children. He asked, “What do you want people to know about you most.”
“That I’m just a regular kid.”

We live in a world of social programs and biases. We live in a world of commercial beauty. We also live with preconceived notions, programmed opinions, ideas, and prejudices.
We live in a time where all of this is taught. We preach about acceptance but yet, we fail to practice what we preach when someone differs from our opinion.

All too often, we view people as objects or recipients instead of resources and assets. There is too much holier than thou, which needs to stop.
Then again, who am I kidding?
We live in a time when we are killing ourselves, now more than ever, and in spite of our data and clinical studies, we are still dying off in record numbers.
Don’t believe me? Check the opiate epidemic. Look at the death toll as a result of alcohol related deaths, which is higher than opiates, but yet, this goes undiscussed. Look at the number of people that die because of smoking. Heart disease is the number 1 killer. None of the numbers are low. We all know this happens, but yet, the numbers continue to rise due to lack of self-care. More and more, we are a self-destructive society.

I think deep down, we are all just that little kid. I think deep down, we all have fears that we learned throughout our travels.
I think that fear is not always a bad thing. I believe fear has a way to keep us safe.
There are times when we should definitely trust our instincts.
However, fear also has a way of keeping us fenced in. Fear also has a way of creating a rigid boundary that keeps us guarded from the world.

I am sure there is a reason why we need to guard ourselves. I am also sure that living behind the rigid boundary is what keeps the soul from ever being free or feeling the mutual fascination of love.

What do you want people to know about you most?

My answer is this.

Truth is I’m scared to say. I’m smart. I’m not a street guy at all, in no way, whatsoever. I’m not tough, but yet, I’m tough enough to live my life, fall down, and wake up the next day.

I am valid. I have a heart, I breathe and I bleed. I am confused and frightened and hurt but still, I want to trust. I want to share. I want to run and play just like any other kid in the world.
I want to be beautiful. yes, that’s it. I want to be beautiful.
Plan and simple.
Truth is I want the world to know I’m just a regular kid. I like the sunrise. I like the sunsets too. I love being out in the ocean. I love the sound of baby’s unstoppable laughter.
I love the laugh of the people that mean so much to me. I love it when people smile. I love it when people hear music and automatically forget there is anyone else around and they dance without a care in the world.
I love when people tell me about the music from their childhood. love to be young and to feel young.

I am not a disorder or a label like depression. I am more than any clinical term and more than any diagnosis. I am me. I am more. I am more than mu childhood learning disabilities.
Deep down, I am this boy that used to sit and pretend to be fishing out at sea in a small aluminum boat that we had in the backyard of a house I lived in at 277 Merrick Avenue. I used to pretend here. I used to dream here as well.
I am a father afraid to be unfit for the title. I am a friend. I am a lover. I am someone that just wants to be a little better.

So, what do I want people to see when they look at me?

Me . . .
I want them to see me

Is that too hard to ask?

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