I took this picture to show my support to everyone who feels they do not belong.
I am a positive person in nature, mostly my luck; got good genes! I also learned a lot about human psychology which helps me to stay in the right mindset. I also know news and media are mostly bombarding us with more negative than positive because that is how they get better ratings. I remind myself every day that what we see on TV or on our phones does not reflect the whole truth. There is so much good in this world, every second of every day that does not make it to "news".
There is one thing that bothers me and makes me sad though living in the 21st century: We are still fearful of anyone who does not look like us: in gender, in skin color, in religion, in language, in simple beliefs, in politics, in everything that artificially separates us.
I learned a lot from my experience in Italy at a youth camp I attended when I was 20. I grew up thinking some people are not like us or just do not like us. I was wrong. I got to be together with people from 60+ countries and found out we all want the same things in life; being loved, being understood, and being happy. It was that simple. Everyone I met from many different backgrounds seemed so much alike. I was pleasantly surprised. That experience changed my life. It is no coincidence that I ended up living in United States always thinking this is the melting point with a lot of acceptance for all kinds of diversity.
I am in conflict with myself and the truth almost every day, refusing to believe there are so many people out there who are not accepting people from LGTBQ community, different races, different political views, different faith, different learning styles, different "fill in the blanks". I read, I hear and I watch many stories where people do not feel they belong. They are heartbreaking. You cannot help but ask why? Why should anyone feel this much pain when they have not done anything wrong and did not hurt anyone in their lives? It is so wrong.
There are young ones out there right now who cannot even tell the truth to their parents about their gender preferences being afraid of losing their love. Not being able to express who you are, thinking there is just too much judgement and disapproval must be so painful. It is sad that parents need to tell their African-American children to be more careful on the streets because there is so much bias against them. It is crazy that a parent who has a child with a disability, especially in some countries, feels like his child does not belong because they are not treated equally. There are children who are out there that cannot learn in this educational system that tries to fit everyone in the same box. They feel there is something wrong with them because they think and learn differently. There are extreme introverts trying to make it at an extravert world. The very creative trying to make a living feel they do not fit in a world where only conventional professions are awarded. There are so many other examples. None of these make us unworthy, it makes us unique.
In this crazy world we live, I want to be there for people who do not feel like they belong. Yes, you do. You have the right to be happy and be part of the society as your birth right.
Let's hear these people's real stories and their hurt to have some empathy. Let's raise children who have compassion and respect for everyone. Let's make sure we do not let anyone make others feel any less or create fear around people who are not like us. Let's have courageous parents who tell about their children's disabilities or their gender differences - anything that makes them feel they do not belong for that matter - proudly and out loud to set great examples. Let's not make anyone feel ashamed of who they are. Let's make everyone feel they belong. It should not be this hard.
It is our Pride weekend in San Diego. Let's celebrate.