Sunday was the big Pride parade in the city (San Francisco). I tend to avoid the downtown area on parade day, since the time I got stuck in traffic, having forgotten that the parade was going on (I still have the vision of a guy's posterior in a gold lame thong seared into my brain. I only wish my hiney looked that good!) Consequently, I spent most of the day hanging out with my sister and finishing up my sock class. We did manage to catch some of it on t.v.; what little I saw of the parade made me happy that I live in a place that honors diversity -- be it ethnicity or sexual orientation. (And how cool is Elizabeth Edwards? She took a big risk for a politician's wife.)
Yesterday, I was reading my favorite Contessa's blog and she mentioned the post on the Knitty blog about pride. Amy blogged about having pride in who you have become and how she changed her photo icons after seeing A Fat Rant by Joy Nash (a very powerful video about this country's attitude toward plus sized people).
Why do I mention these things? Simply because having pride in yourself is important and sometimes, the hardest thing to do. It has taken a long time for me to be comfortable in my own skin; there have been times in my life that people have tried to take my pride in myself away from me.
Back story #1: I am hapa-haole. My mom's Japanese and was born in the Territory of Hawaii. My father was a South Dakota farm boy of German descent. Anti-miscegenation laws almost prevented my parent's marriage; part of my dad's family never accepted my mother (or, by extension, my sister and me). It seems that we were always fighting for acceptance or standing up to bullies who couldn't deal with the fact that we were different. In the mid-1970's, we moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, right behind Oral Roberts University. Those four years were really a challenge! (No offense to you Okies out there, but Dad called those years our first foreign assignment). My sister and I were often called "half-breed", my sister was physically bullied by a teacher (luckily the principal witnessed it and took action), I was suspended from riding the school bus after defending myself against a boy who beat up on me and ripped my clothing (lucky for me, my mom raised holy h*ll and the suspension was pinned on the boy instead).
Our saving grace was a transfer to Brazil, where we attended an international school. It was a different world, in more ways than one. We were taken into a special family that is unique to international schools; our peers and the Brazilians (warm and friendly people) accepted us without hesitation, or questioning what we were.
I can tell I'm about to get all preachy on 'ya. Suffice to say, whatever your ethnicity or sexual orientation, surround yourself with people who love you and accept you without question (or move someplace where they will!) As a teacher I've learned that everybody has a redeeming quality; find that in yourself and take pride in it. Here endeth the sermon.