Growing from a child into a young adult are powerful years. The “big” events and experiences during that period stick with us.
I would like to share something with you because it’s important to me.
In a previous post, I mentioned how each of us has our own prevailing awareness — experiences that have formed our humanness.
In my case, the Carolyn Being.
At eight-years old I was told I was going to hell for not being Baptist. I tried to stand up for myself. It was hard. I was outnumbered. In tears, I ran home to my mother.
What I learned: It hurts to be judged by your faith.
A popular football player in high school pushed and mocked a blind student. “What are you doing?!” I shouted. For a second, I wondered who’s said that. I was not the confrontational kind and my words shocked me. They also felt good.
Later, that same year, a young girl with Down Syndrome climbed up my body like I was a grand oak tree, clinging to me with comfort while others gaped, appalled. I smiled. I loved her strong and loving arms.
What I learned: Never poke fun at the physically or mentally challenged.
A friend in early 1970’s “confessed” he was gay. I said, “But you’ll still drive us around, right?”
What I learned: A good friend is a good friend no matter what their sexual preference.
In the late seventies, a friend used the “n” word in front of me. I told him to never do it again.
What I learned: Friends may not share your values.
I learned about poverty while student teaching in a low income center across from the housing projects.
What I learned: We are not born in equal environments.
I witnessed a “clean cut” UT student, rip the metal trim off of the side of an old car that wasn’t his. I confronted him while my friend found the bar’s bouncer.
What I learned: It’s disrespectful to destroy another’s property.
After many more experiences were added to my Prevailing Awareness, I decided to enter the field of Special Ed then changed my major to Child Development.
So, I taught bias-free education to my teachers and at local and state conferences. This theme carries over into my novels.
From my experiences, I learned to stand up for those who are picked on, faced with injustices, scrutinized and criticized for being “different.” I learned to stand up to the oppressors who try to crush another’s dignity in order to feel temporarily (and falsely) empowered.
That’s how I roll.
How about you? Do you have a particular experience/experiences that molded the shape of your BEING?