Beautifully Different

What makes me beautiful? What makes me different? Oh boy! Today’s prompt from Karen Walrond is a doozy to say the least. I am one of those folks who has difficulties talking about themselves, a habit that I have been trying to break out of for some time.

But back to the prompt.

I think what makes me beautiful is my ability to accept people as they are. I try to meet people exactly where they are regardless of age, race, national origin, sexual orientation or socio-economic status. I try not to filter people through my lens or dump any of my stuff on them. This is part of what makes me a really good educator. I’m not just saying that based on the reviews from my classroom observations (trust me, they are great!), but I base this on my interactions with my students past and present.

After each semester, I always have students who make it a point to seek me out and talk to me. In fact, my current students often come to me to help with issues they are having with other classes or at home. Late last week, a student whose class meets following mine in the same room, whipped out his textbook and asked me a few questions as I was packing up. I gladly answered him and let him know that if he needed me, he could easily reach me.

I think people sense how open and receptive I can be. I’m the type of person to smile and say “hello” to people on the street. Something my grandmother passed down to my mom, who passed it along to me was: “Treat everyone fairly and like equals.” I’ve maintained this attitude whether I was working in corporate America, teaching kindergardeners in an after school program in the South Bronx, and with the college students I currently teach.

This quality, being open and receptive, is what makes me a good mother and will ultimately make me a great filmmaker (I am so claiming it!) as I continue along my creative path. It’s interesting to note that after each screening of my film, audience members ask me how I got the participants to tell me so much of their business. I always tell them it’s because I don’t judge, I love.

I distinctly remember being a hot mess some years ago and all of the lives I affected, for better or for worse, during my hot mess period(s). There are some folks who I thought would never want to hear from me after some of the stunts I pulled, but for the most part, I have been re-welcomed with open arms, no apologies or quantifications needed. I owe it to myself and others to be just as open, loving and forgiving.

So many folks, both young and old, don’t have someone in their lives who approaches them in this way and I am grateful to be able to be that person for some. It is through this, that my beauty shines through.