Who is it behind the mask? Behind the signs? It goes beyond the mask, signs and into a realm of how to deeply care for each other. Love. Is. How. We. Do. That.
That is humanity. That is science. I see you. I see your soul. I don’t care what your mask looks like. I don’t care what you look like. Show me your soul. I care about who you are on the inside and beyond that. Whoever you are and whoever it is that you are in a process of becoming.
There is now a business of masks. People are selling them and matching them with their outfits.
Who would have thought?
A mask hides who we are. A mask protects us from the virus and the germs.
The mask is protecting us from each other. From ourselves. Or is it?
Speak to people in real life and if you have the opportunity — move to the place where they predominantly speak the language you’re learning. I know right now it’s difficult and challenging especially during the coronavirus while wearing masks a substitute aka bonus: there are apps where you can virtually connect but realize real life and in person is the best kind of way.
Be yourself. Stay true. The authentic you. When people ask where you’re from: be proud and tell them.
Make mistakes and do the thing that scares you. Many times it comes down to confidence. Talk even when you’re scared to and even when you don’t know what to say. That is where you’re language breakthrough and explosion is waiting. When you say: I don’t know how to express that or when you ask how do I say that? YOU are learning how to express yourself in real time.
*Note on Identity and Accents
Do not try to sound like someone else — be authentically true to who you are. EVERYONE has an accent: be proud of yours. When someone asks you where you’re from. You make sure you tell them. Always remember and honor the spaces and places you are from.
No one will ever sound or say sentences how and the way you say them. There will never be another you. So be the best you. Remember that.
When you were born what did you wear? Even before you were born what kinds of colors do you think were chosen for you? What did you play with? How did you play? Where did you play? Who did you play with? When did it change or not? Why? I looked at pictures when I was born. My very first photograph I was screaming in it inside of a pretty pink dress. Our gender and identity are chosen before we are even conceptualized.
I was inspired over a YouTube video I watched of a little girl who basically stood in a karate outfit before the camera in a clothing store as she started pointing out the differences between boy and girl clothing. She stated and showed the unfairness of gender bias and identity through clothes. She said, “Look at that on boy’s clothes it says think outside of the box, an adventure awaits and hero and now look at girl’s clothing it says Hey!, I’m fabulous and beautiful. She said boys are encouraged to go on adventures and think outside the box while girls are just meant to be pretty.
The little girl had a big idea, which got me thinking. She went on to move the boy clothes to the girl side. From birth to death our gender roles and identity exist.
Thinking about that picture and as I turned the pages of photo albums I watched as I grew into jeans and sweatshirts. I also saw how I wore prom dresses and heels I would not say pressured to but expected to wear at proms. However, I was comfortable in jeans and sneakers. I never liked playing with dolls or Barbies. I liked taking things apart and going on adventures. I also really liked the ninja turtles. Even what I chose to be for Halloween was not your average princess and fairy. I was a power ranger and I even went as death. Death and dead things fascinated me.
Both genders should be expected to be themselves. Their best selves.
When you see boys playing and caring for baby dolls don’t call him a girl or ask, “Why are you acting like a girl?” The little boy will grow into a father, uncle…a man who needs to know how to treat and care for babies. If a little boy cries do not tell him he is acting like a girl or a crybaby. Boys and girls are human beings with…feelings. Most importantly do not work to “toughen” a boy up. What does this even mean? Toughen him up for what? Unless he is going to be a fighter or boxer what does he have to be so tough about?
For boys and girls teach them that it is ok to be them selves. It is ok to cry. It is ok to have interests that may not be inside the box. It is ok to think and feel differently. It is ok to play with both genders. It is ok to wear any color you want. In fact wear your favorites.
By doing this you are teaching that it is ok to be different and that it is ok to be yourself. Here’s to being our best selves.