Emily Lam

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Perception

"When you get, give. When you learn, teach" -- Maya Angelou

The current turmoil in the the United States has partly been brought upon us because we are so deeply divided and unsatisfied. It's so hard for anyone these days to connect with the other side. Instead of trying to see eye-to-eye, we are dismissive to each other's ideas. And so there's a deep sense of misunderstanding.

As a country, we have now elected an openly racist, sexist, bigoted man to presidency, which is not okay. And I don't think that was anybody's intention. But that just goes to show how discontented half the United States is with the status quo that they were willing to avert their eyes to those terrible traits (because those traits affect then less) in the hope that finally their voices will be heard. I do not believe Donald Trump is fit to be the president of the United States. But I'm way more interested in understanding the people who elected him into presidency and making sure the rights I enjoy are available to everyone especially if they don't have a voice.

I've always been a person who was very different but tried very hard to relate to everyone, like a chameleon. Anyone who knows me during high school or college knows I tried to be friends with everyone: the nerds, the slackers, the illegal immigrants, the rich, the poor, the gang members, the mean people, the cool kids, the runners, the writers, the misunderstood, the sports fans, etc. I wasn't friends with everyone, but I tried. As a result, my interests are everywhere: I'm not really good at one thing, I don't have one social clique, my path in life isn't overwhelming obvious, and I find myself lost more often than not. This past couple years, I decided to not connect with people as much; the introvert in me was tired. I wanted to figure out what it was that I wanted to do. I got caught up in my own life. I put very little effort into befriending people; I closed off. I tell you this because I recently realized how selfish that was of me.

The other day I found myself overwhelmed with helping students in the course I'm assisting in. I lamented to my advisor. His response was simple: it's because you're accessible, approachable. In that moment, I realized I don't ever want to be the person who is not approachable, regardless of the time-sink it is to me. If I can help, I'll help. If I can be your friend, I'll be your friend.

Now, especially now, if you have a voice, you need to use it!

I'm incredibly privileged, which means I really just can't sit passively on the sidelines when there are people who don't have those privileges. Actively, day in and day out, I have to do my share by: leading by example; working hard; creating and sharing my work; sharing my life with others; listening to others; learning constantly; trying to understand others; admitting mistakes and follies; being myself; and knowing my limits.

On the web, you see entities making political stances that normally would rather not intrude in topics not up their alley. But it's reached a point where you need to take a stance. Even if it's controversial or will create a backlash. Even if you want to live under a rock and disconnect from this messy world (my case). This messy world is ours and we must take care of it!

The city . . .
(This post is meant to be more of a reminder to myself than a message to the world. But there's something in immortalizing my thoughts in writing that helps me organize my thoughts and hold myself accountable.)

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