An Imperfect World
My mom explained the concept of rose-colored glasses to me when I was young. She told me that I had a beautiful perspective of the world, but I should be aware that it would not always look that way. Other than bullies in school, I viewed the world as this awesome melting pot of colors, shapes, religions, beliefs and ways to communicate. I loved it!
With New Friends
A new girl moved into the house across street in the summer of 1993. Naturally, she would become my new friend…that is how us extroverts think. She felt totally overwhelmed by my bubbly personality at first, but we bonded over our love for dance and singing. She introduced me to Bollywood movies, and I introduced her to Broadway show tunes. By the time school began (5th grade), we were close friends.
She rarely, if ever, spoke up in class, but as soon as we hit the playground she would chat up a storm. Our teacher noticed this trend and pulled me aside. He asked, “Do you think you could help Mandeep come out of her shell a bit? I can tell that she knows the answers, but she seems scared to speak up.” My response was clear, “Um Yes! Of course!”
Rather than being my usual pushy self, I decided to be nonchalant by sneaking in supportive comments whenever I could. I found myself becoming her number one cheerleader. By the end of the school year she was talking to everyone, and no situation seemed to scare her.
Our Cultural Differences
Clearly Mandeep figured out my devious plan, because she sat me down one day to explain the reasons behind her shyness. Kids in small town suburbia are not accustomed to seeing a dark skinned girl who prays to many gods, occasionally wearing henna, and speaking with a “funny” accent. These were among my favorite things about her, so this realization confused me and broke my heart a little.
My Story Begins
Mom was right – the rose-colored glasses were now cracked. I think my mom always knew I would choose the rosy perspective. However, she didn’t account for my tenacity and drive for equality. The crack created in my glasses stirred a desire to support and protect others.
I was building a network of relationships with other inspiring people, and Mandeep was only the beginning of my story. No one would make the people in my community (or me) feel bad or stupid anymore. So it began…my journey to create a world of clear communication, trust, open information, and community. I’m still wandering down the path with my rosy glasses on, but I sneak a peek through the crack for a piece of “reality” every so often.