“What do you want?”
“Hearts or a rainbow.”
“Well, we have these options…”
“…A flower then, please.”
Over the weekend, my Creative Director, Jo Cook, invited me to a night event. I stay out past dark with few people, and for few reasons, but JC is one of those people, and she was inviting me to an event that celebrated the local Ypsilanti community – which is definitely a reason.
The opportunity to have my face painted was one of my highlights from the event. I went up to the artist excitedly.
“What do you want?” I was asked.
“Hearts or a rainbow,” I replied. <–Those are two of my favorite things.
“Well,” the artist replied, “We have these options…”
And in that moment I realized that even though I was about to receive an awesome, unique, complimentary service (who doesn’t love free face-painting?), in at least one way, the encounter represented many of my everyday life experiences –
The option that I wanted simply wasn’t there in reality.
“Okay, Angela. Chill. Flowers are nice too,” right? I know, but – let’s take away the hearts and rainbows for a minute and widen the lens a bit further:
What happens when something you want in life – even something small, like a face-painting of a heart – isn’t there? What are you told? How far is “reasonable” to ask for what you want? And who decides what’s reasonable? Enter life’s gauntlets of:
“I’m sorry I can’t.”
“I don’t know how, so…” ”
“I’m not ready…”
“Well, it’s not my responsibility…”
And more, being thrown upon your wants.
And if that’s not enough – what happens when, in response to your articulated wants, people decide that you’re asking for too much? What happens when someone decides for you that you don’t really need what you’ve asked for? Then here come the daggers of:
“You are being unreasonable.”
“Why can’t you just accept what is?”
“Couldn’t you just wait until later?”
“I think that you really just need to forget it.”
“That’s why you have such a hard time– because you push too much.”
Woah, that escalated quickly, Angela! Time out?
Unfortunately, there is no time out, because here is the truth: my face-paint, your and my individual wants, pale in comparison to the authentic human needs of the key demographic at the heart and soul of my mission:
individuals who live with physical, and psychological differences.
On a daily basis – this constituency has no option provided.
On a daily basis – the options for this constituency simply aren’t there in reality. (#Yet).
You, I, we must begin to understand that at some point in our individual lives, we will face the day when we are provided with no option. I don’t wish that feeling on you. Rather, I humbly challenge all of us to live courageously in the present to work through our gauntlets, and address our individual daggers, in going after our wants, so that we may together develop the empathy, and strength needed in order to do what is right for those who need a new option – and need it now.
Back before you’ll miss me,