I was trying to find myself in a community, surrounded by women with straight blond hair and bright blue eyes, looking great in black lululemon leggings. Me, short legged, slightly overweight sheep. I believed I had to look like the people I saw in the community to fit in, to be accepted, to make friends. I purchased lululemon pants (although I love skirts), went to yoga classes and highlighted my hair.
But when and why did the taste makers of our culture decide that if you are "different", then you can never be "beautiful" or "enough"? Why does our society choose to constantly feed into those detrimental narratives? And why is it so quick to satisfy itself with checklist diversity? Real inclusiveness takes place in the mind and shows up at the decision-making table. It challenges our previous notions of beauty, value, and representation. Not only is it easy to miss beauty (talent), but it's equally easy to vilify an "other", someone we are not familiar with. The same goes for people who makes us uncomfortable because of their strange sounding accent, their different-looking clothing, or even the color of their skin. But vilification starts as in-curiosity, ignorance and fear can quickly transform into danger, isolation, and life-threatening oppression. People fear what they do not know. Have you noticed that any decision-making group (Kelowna City Council for example) might include only one person representing minorities, but mostly doesn't?
There's an incredible pool of potential that gets marginalized. We all miss out on the benefits of this reservoir of talent that gets set aside. Nature, the purest form of beauty, knows that diversity is strength; we have yet to fully recognize and benefit from this natural truth. Our look, our style, our thoughts, and our beliefs, define and strengthen us. Everyone of us shares at least one common denominator with every other human - life itself. And the fact that you drive Mercedes/BMW/Tesla and vacation in Hawaii doesn't mean you are better person.
I wish we (society) can overcome fear and spread curiosity. Learn from one another. We might look differently and speak with/without accent, but if life allowed us to cross paths, believe there is always a foundation of shared humanity. Beauty is mindfulness and appreciation of our differences. But you feel it if you choose to be open to its presence.