In a writing workshop designed to find common ground through American voices, I was asked to imagine myself as rejecting my culture and what affect that would probably have on me emotionally professionally and socially-both in a positive and negative way. How ironic this assignment was for me because basically I had done that for over 40 plus years. No one could imagine from other cultures, why I would choose to do that, being white. I didn't realize in my teen years why everyone thought it was such a big deal, probably because I didn't understand the implications by some, was that by exploring other viewpoints it was understood I had rejected or left behind what I was born with, which was my own identity. As I grew older I realize that the more I investigated other truths (the hidden agendas) the more I moved away from accepted truths, (without review). According to some I was no longer white. It still puzzles me as to what the accepted definition of white is. It says on my birth certificate that I am white, but I guess more requirements come with that than just who your birth parents are. A lot of the same cultures that run in my DNA memories along with my blood have historically been mistreated and abused by the ancestors of my heritage. This has troubled me my entire life as I am sure it has many others. To reject certain actions taken by members of the culture my embodiment represents, means to me that I accept responsibility for change. To change historic patterns by making different choices allows the generations that follow my footsteps to do the same if they choose to. I personally accept the teachings of the native Indian side of my people, whereby it is understood that we as a people affect seven generations by the choices we make individually. That gives me the opportunity to affect a change by choice. I may not be able to change the past but I do believe I can play a part in the future.
How these choices have affected me emotionally have been challenging at times because my feelings about change have been strongly charged. I have multicultural children by choice, therefore it is an immediate concern for me and present every day. This helps me to understand someone of another culture when they say, “I go to bed with his face and I wake up with his face every day, whatever problem or challenge that presents for another, I cannot change nor do I choose to.”
The pride that I take in my choices is that by the grace of God I have survived to tell my story to my grandchildren. Hopefully they will have the courage to stand up for their strong convictions in life, whatever they may be, they will have courage and faith that there is a bigger/stronger force at their back, at all times.
How my choices have affected me professionally have differed according to whatever I have chosen to do in service to humanity. When I was in my own business, as a cosmetologist there were challenges on many fronts because there again I did not allow myself to be segregated. I purposely chose to cross- over train in all cultures and to practice these teachings in every aspect of my business. I do feel that our professional choices should also reflect our personal self. It would be very difficult for me to try and separate who I am for eight to 12 hours out of the day. Therefore, I don't attempt to try. There can be personal choices separate from work that you can keep private but a larger part of yourself that you bring to the table normally will always reveal itself at some point. Our society is so diverse that it would be almost impossible to hide yourself from anyone. I am aware that my outer color has probably given me choices far beyond a lot of other cultures in this country but I try to make good use of that to benefit all people where ever I am and in whatever capacity I can affect.
The social effect that my choices have had on me at times has rendered me to be alone but as a writer that has been a positive thing. To be able to observe and ascertain people's reactions to my choices has provided plenty of research material as well as critical thinking opportunities.
Going back over the last 50 years of my life I can say now that the face I always saw in the mirror was connected to my heart but the life I chose to go with it was misinterpreted many times. That was the challenge of the beholder, not mine. I live in peace knowing who I am through my journey, not by someone else's definition.