I know there is a difference between fair and unfair. And then again, I know that things happen without the option of being either. I know what we say. I know what we teach our children. I know about the rules and influences, and yet, I know that we often contradict ourselves.
For example, we teach our children that beauty is only skin deep; that looks aren’t everything, and yet, look at the different branches of social media. And I don’t just mean the typical branches like twitter or the more common editors of today’s social conscience.
Look at the professional networking brands. The intention for this media is to network and explore opportunities. I’ve seen these pages. Come to think of it, I saw a post from a young man. He was average-looking. Basic. Nothing eye-catching about him at all.
He had a life on the streets and he accomplished his goal by cleaning up, finding his way into college and then he graduated. Of course there were a few congratulatory comments on his social media post.
A few people hit the like button. But he was only average looking, right? So therefore, the attention was minimal.
Who cares about the fact that he managed to step away from the needle? Would it be more of an accomplishment if he were pretty? This man got himself through detox. He found his way back and did more in a few years than most people do in their lifetime. And yet, there was hardly any attention for him. There was barely a “Good job.”
But, there was a girl whose figure was certainly dramatic; her looks were above average and of course, the photo she chose accentuated her best attributes. Now, please, before this goes in the wrong direction, I have a point, which I am coming to soon. The girl posted about an achievement.
The girl in the picture celebrated one year clean. Her story was certainly not less than tragic nor am I suggesting hers was the easiest course to follow. However, her picture simply said, “This is what one year of sobriety looks like.” The part that interests me is the responses to her post were endless. Thousands of people hit the like button. Meanwhile, the man that went from homeless to his own home and someone with a masters was mainly scrolled by on social media. But why?
Is his achievement not worthy of the same praise? I offer this not as a depiction of right or wrong, fair or unfair. Instead, I offer this as an observation. By the way, I have seen this to be true with all genders and not just one. For some reason, social influence plays a game with us all, — and we follow this game both to the spirit and to the letter of the law.
Is appearance everything? Is this true because if beauty is only skin deep, then why are we drawn to appearance than accomplishments. I have heard people argue with me about this. And I’m not interested in a debate, nor have I come to start one. Instead, I am here to point out that no, we are not all created equal. Looks do matter and yes, the world can be a superficial place. There are wolves in the flock. There are sheep of all kinds. There are sheepdogs and there are shepherds. The maze in this pasture is different for us all.
I have met brilliant people whose modest life would go undetected. And why? Is this because they don’t come from the upper crust? Is it true? It’s not who you are. It’s who you know (or who you’re related to). Do looks mean more than say, a good heart and an honest word? Maybe it does in some arenas. I don’t know because I won’t play in places like this. Not anymore.
Is the world a fair place?
Has it ever been?
I would never dare to point out someone’s disadvantages due to color, race, belief, gender or background. I am not fit to play judge or jury for either because my influence and history is different. I only know what it means to live in my shoes. Not anyone else’s.
However, I reject the notion that I am the so-called privileged. I reject this motto and anyone that proposes this to me. I don’t know what it’s like to live as anyone else; so therefore, I don’t let people tell me they know what it’s like to be me (because they don’t). I don’t point at you. Please do not point at me. That’s how I live my life.
In the scheme of it all, no, we’re not all in the same boat. I get this. I agree with the quote, “We are not in the same boat. We’re all in the same storm. Some are on super-yachts. Some just have one oar.” I agree with this. We are not all from the same advantages. And I get that. I understand the attention on the pretty, the fast, the flashy and the glamorous.
I understand the brutal truth that there are settings where wealth outweighs injustice. I understand there are grounds where I am less competitive and places where I am the hero. There are places where I am the captain. I am the best version of myself no matter where I go, unless of course, I allow myself to live under someone else’s rule. I can’t do that anymore. And neither should you.
No one ever dared to tell us that life is fair. No one ever dared to explain that try as you will, but yes, there will always be status and the different levels of popularity.
I used to have a saying. Have I told you about this? Did I ever tell you about the velvet ropes? They are the red-carpet crowd. I came up with this while waiting outside of a nightclub in New York City. There was a promoter standing outside with a clipboard in hand. The promoter was mainly nasty to anyone who spoke, —unless, of course, whomever spoke was pretty or well-known — then of course, the promoter would walk over to the velvet ropes, opened one side to let the preferred person in. After which, the promoter would close the rope back without so much as looking at anyone else. They did this as if anyone else was simply undesirable or not good enough.
Hence, this is where I came up with the saying, velvet ropes. This described a person who was somehow accepted.
By the way, this is not color specific or gender specific. Even if we choose to be specific, life is not. Dreams and drives, passions and disappointments are not specific or exclusive. In fact, no, dreams and hopes and drives and wishes, disappointments, failures, success and sadness, loss, depression and anxiety is in fact the most inclusive club around.
You want to talk about inclusion? Okay. Let’s talk about inclusion. Let’s take a good look around and see how we celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion. Let’s look at this from all sides and not just one. Let’s talk about the execs and the fat cats in the company that get all the attention and yet, meanwhile, there is an entire team beneath them; — but wait, no, there is an entire company beneath them. There are people whom without them the company would fall apart. Do the workers get the same glory as the executive? Are they mentioned? The answer is hardly.
I’ve overheard the heads of HR in large companies discuss the outfits of their coworkers. I’ve seen the finger pointing and the pretending from the pretentious and do you know what?
Here we are, telling our children things like this are not important. Well, apparently this is important. Looks are important.
We’re not all created equal. So work hard. Don’t give into distractions. No one is going to give anything away. Everything is a trade. Whether the trade is opportunity or wealth or stability; there’s a contract for everything. So be mindful of what you sign.
Even the velvet ropes have to work. Otherwise, they go from Park Ave to park scabs. Just remember that pride comes before the fall and in all fairness, we are all one step away from a big misfortune, — which again, this is not color, cultural or gender specific (even if we are).
We are not equal. I agree but no one should ever live or choose to be less than or subordinate. No one has the right to be above me or you. No one has the right to belittle us and yet, there is so much evidence out there that proves otherwise. So I’m writing this to you, baby girl.
You are my daughter. You are my child. I created you. No matter which way we go around this crazy world, nothing can ever dissolve this fact. I want to be honest with you. I don’t want to deceive you. Therefore, I have to be honest. The world is not always going to be open to you or accepting. However, this is only as important as you allow this to be.
I say this because I admit to the wrongs of my past. I admit to my shortcomings. I admit to being lost, to being angry, vengeful, destructive, deceptive and misguided as well. I was a cog in a lot of my own craziness and I want to be sure this ends and that you never have to pay for my wrongs as a father.
It wasn’t until I learned to shed my skin and be myself that I learned how unimportant the judgments of others truly are. There’s a big world out there, kid. And it’s ugly sometimes. It’s dark sometimes and it rains from time to time. But it can’t rain forever and the sun will always shine again. To end this, I will close with this song. And I want you to listen to the words. Although this is a love song, there is still truth. So remember, when the wind is blowing in your face and the whole world is on your case, I can offer you a warm embrace to make you feel my love. I could have a billion dollars but none of it would be worth a penny if I couldn’t give you this.
Go get ’em kid.
The world is yours now.
And don’t let anyone ever tell you different. But if they do, tell ’em to come see me.
I have something special for ’em.