Believing in Belonging

People come in all shapes, sizes, colors and personalities. We face challenges, surprises, pleasures and anxieties. But some climb bigger mountains than others, and the twists and turns leave it harder for them to be seen as equals, to get ahead, to gain respect and make friends.

These are people you know, people with different skin color, constrained upbringings, different ways of waking and talking. These are the people who make America the free and great place it is, and yet still fight for those rights and recognitions- not to be crowned heroes, but rather seen as equals and innovative, happy companions.

Like people, abilities, or disabilities, or handicaps if you wish- come in all forms and strengths. You probably know someone with disslexia, a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, or someone with Down syndrome. When you see them on the streer, you might feel sorry for these people, but if you truly know and want to help them, you’ll recognize their true potential.

This may seem like something to be left to reading in fiction books, but pick up local papers around the country or take a look around you, and you’ll find people grasping the world as they see it and are able to participate, and just ask that we all respect them for who they are and their work for its true value.

Take Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, for example. Everyone knows of the great inventions they created that have dramatically altered our lives for the better. But at the time, few people believed in them, striking them out as peculiar for their artistic, altered-mind states. Yet both genius men became known for their innovations enabled by the distinctive perspectives offered by a mixture of dyslexia and deafness (Bell observed his family’s audio struggles, Edison actually had them due to a chemical accident) that led them to find new ways to interact with and impact the world. It is not until after their deaths that their accomplishments were truly recognized and their challenges, however small, were embraced.

Today, many people face even greater challenges to prove their abilities and place in society, but true leaders are showing it’s possible. People like Christine Ha, winner of master Chef Season 3, show even demanding Gordon Ramsey what the sensual art of cooking is all about and what is possible for people who believe, set their minds to something, and fight for it. Cooking is a physical art that often seems vision-centric, yet art really arises on the tongue, not in colorful explosions on the plate,and how something looks does not define its soul.

I highlight these and many other, more-in-depth stories to come- in order to set higher, endless limits to what is possible and that everyone has something worth believing in, empathizing, and encouraging.

Meanwhile, check out my form of art:

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