We live in a 24/7 instant gratification culture that is in constant search for the next big story. Our society has created and supported a multi-billion dollar gossip entertainment industry where celebrities, athletes and influencers successes, defeats, trials, and tribulations become socially trending news across multimedia outlets.
We have become fixated, curious and borderline obsessed with stardom and today’s celebrity. We put these individuals on pedestals, religiously keeping up with their daily lives — praising them, ridiculing them, lifting them up while quickly tearing them down. Their pain becomes our entertainment in the process dehumanizing the essence of who they are to meet bottom line profit and audience engagement goals. As we try to emulate celebrities and individuals in the public light one of a kind uniqueness, we venture farther away from accepting and embracing all of who we were born and meant to be.
While entertainment and sporting events become safe havens to escape our own life issues for a few hours, we must never forget that those individuals we view live in person and on our screens are human too.
As I reflected on how our society handles celebrities lowest and vulnerable moments, I began to think about this precious journey of life and how we all have something in common. We are all fighting some battle that another person knows absolutely nothing about while carrying with us our dreams, aspirations, and hopes as well as our fears, insecurities, and uncertainties. At some point on our journey, we maneuver the internal conflict of being at our very most vulnerable state — merely calling out for help and wanting to be understood.
When we liberate ourselves from our ego, we can begin to see and value another person — not for how they can entertain and enlighten us but for their beautiful expression of life and infinite possibilities. As we venture and consciously grow past the superficial beliefs of stardom and gently take celebrities and the influencers in our lives off the pedestals we have put them on — only then will we realize we are all trying to figure out this phenomenon called life.
Following are aspects of my life that you think you know, but do not…
- You do not know the real me.
- You have not walked in my Nikes.
- You know my name, but not my journey.
- You see the speech, but not the dream.
- You notice the masks, but not the face.
- You see the confidence, but not the doubt.
- You might believe I know, but I do not.
- You know something, but not all.
- You listen to what you wish to hear.
- You only see what you want to recognize.
- You see the smile, but not the tears.
- You think I am alive when at times I have felt dead.
- You think I am free when at times I have felt imprisoned.
- You see old, I see young.
- You observe the body and not the mind.
- You do not know that most nights I go to bed hungry.
- You have not climbed my walls or crossed my bridges.
- You have never looked me in my eyes, mind, and soul.
- You have never heard my heartbeat.
- You do not know where I go when I disappear.
- You have never wiped my tears away and listened to my cry.
- You have never shared my fears, pains, losses, and longings.
- You do not recognize the parts of my life that are under construction.
- You read my public narrative but do not understand the private story that lies beneath the surface.
- You do not know what makes me laugh, smile, stop, go, push, pull, fail, succeed, speak and listen.
So how could you be expected to know me, when I am still seeking to understand myself? What you see, is only half of the story. The truth is you will never wholly know me, and I will never entirely know you.
What I do know and have learned over my eighty-one-year journey is that it cost us absolutely nothing to be kind. Each of us deserves to be treated with a level of dignity and humanity regardless of race, religion, color, creed, and sexual orientation.
Every day we are presented with an opportunity to be radiant beacons of peace, love, positivity, courage, and perseverance — in the process leaving footprints of kindness everywhere we go. Never underestimate the power of your kind word, touch or a smile. People will always remember how you made them feel. You just might be saving someone’s life who is suffering in silence!