How have you enjoyed culture in your life?
I come from a huge, eccentric, loving family. They are an entire culture in itself and I wish everyone had that. But I’ve always been entranced by different cultures. I am an observer. I love going to events where culture is thriving such as farmers markets, street fairs, festivals, parks, museums, galleries, concerts exc. I may not interact or get involved in the “hubbub” but trust me I am having a great time. When I am surrounded by all types of characters is when I feel at home. Much like the family I was born into.
What are the cultures you are born into and what are ones you have had to adopt?
I grew up in a predominantly Caucasian, suburban area and from a young age I was always searching for something other then that. I was blessed enough to be born into a family that encouraged this instead of shying away from it. I didn’t quite feel like I fit into the puzzle so I created my own by expressing who I really was and what I liked even if it wasn’t “normal” (Which is a word I hate btw).
What are some difficulties you have had to experience because of the place you live and the culture you are apart of?
Trust me, where I am from, I walk into a room and people look at me like I am Lady Gaga dressed in that meat dress. Which is part of the reason I moved to Chicago. Being the big fish is has its perks but being amongst all the other fishes was what I was missing. I like to call my people “the island of misfit toys”. And I mean that as a compliment.
Have you experienced prejudices?
Yes. Most often it has been because of my age. But as I have gotten older I have realized that the prejudices I have gone through are so minuscule then what minorities and people that don’t come from that “Caucasian, suburban” area, that I did, go through on a daily basis.
How do you feel about stereotypes?
Stereotypes are what people have come up with to put others in a box. The way I see it it’s just another way to try and control something you are insecure about. There can be innocent humor in stereotypes but they really aren’t forward thinking. In fact, a lot of the oppression and injustices that happen around the country every day are because people are acting directly upon stereotypes instead of each person as an individual. I don’t want to be defined in one word or one idea so I try not to do that to others.
What is something you would like to let others know about your culture that you know most don’t know about?
I believe strongly in the young people of today, otherwise known as Millennials. Although I love where I’m from and it will always be my home, I don’t consider where I’m from an exact accurate definition of my culture. I guess it’s more of a mindset then a geographical or nationality thing. And I frequently find there is a negative connotation with the word “Millennial”. But what I want people to know is Millennials are like no other generation before them. We often don’t take the most walked path, which can cause struggle but also builds character and strength. We aren’t doing things traditionally and some people are threatened by that. But we are innovative. And we are hopeful. And I think we will eventually do what no other generation has done before and tackle the problem that separates skin colors which is systematic racism.
What is the area you feel the most misunderstood by others because of your culture?
This is where stereotypes can be harmful. I don’t feel that I am defined by being “white”, or being a woman, or being from a small town. I am so much more. And I live it every day. Some people will try to say I am trying to be something I am not because I have surrounded myself with all types of cultures and skin tones. And I say why stare at a gray sky when there is a rainbow?
Do you enjoy other cultures? Which ones do you understand more or feel connected to?
I enjoy all cultures. I try to be culturally well rounded. It builds compassion. I find that I have something in common with all of them. I have never found a person that doesn’t have common ground with Respect and Love.
Do you feel heard by your peers about who you are in your culture?
This is a tough one. Everything goes back to the way you were raised. Everyone feels judged at some point. It’s life. I have judged others by the wrong things or prematurely too. And sometimes I feel judged, by the way I look or my skin color. But that’s why self expression is so important. You may think I am a certain way because of the way I look or my age but I am going to be me through and through and over time that usually changes people’s opinion if they have prematurely judged me. And if they don’t we’ll that’s on them. I try not to let negativity phase me too much from moving forward.