“Culture so different.
In this one I am looked down upon because mine is different.
I am the minority and you seem to believe that you are superior.”
A portion of a poem that I wrote a few months ago when I was feeling very alone. Let me introduce myself and give a little background to this poem. My parents raised me to follow what interests me, be creative, and be mindful of the affects of what you put in your body (whether it be in a form of a hamburger or a vaccination). My grandfather on my mom’s side was a certified organic farmer in the 1990’s (before eating organic was “cool”), and her mom never gave her children coloring books because she wanted her kids to learn how to be free and to be creative. On my father’s side of the family…two words — brainiacs and artists. Naturally, my parents have always exposed me to fine arts. Personally, I don’t know what life is if it’s not centered around the arts. I’ve grown up in a Messianic synogogue where early on I made friends who were also exposed to fine arts because their parents encouraged it, too.
Flash forward to my 8th grade year. My parents decided it was time to put me in a traditional school setting. They chose a school that is located in a extremely small town, in the country, with conservative values (something I wasn’t particularly use to), most students who attend are either Baptist or Mennonite, farm community, and not real sure of Messianics. For the first time in my life, I was in a world that was the complete opposite of what I was raised in, and what my values are. I was placed in a building far from home (physically and metaphorically) where suddenly Jackson Pollack isn’t considered an artist because he produced abstract art, living in town is a bad thing, and my value is apparently based on my GPA and if I made varsity. I struggle living in this culture that I was placed in. I’ve had to buy stress balls to squeeze when the science teacher goes on a rant about how eating organic, and free from gmo’s/antibiotics is just a marketing campaign, or when the Bible teacher starts teaching about Jewish culture; consequently I have broken several stress balls. LOL.
A few things that G-d has taught me in this odd world that He placed me in are the following…
1) No culture or way of life is “better” than the other; it’s all a matter of preference.
2) People are people no matter how “different” they are.
3) Keep an open mind about other ways of life, but that only works if both sides are willing to be open-minded.
4) G-d has set us all on a different path; everyone has a different journey that they are on. This means that some are called to be farmers, scientist, or even barista’s!
5) Keep in mind what that James guy said, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry,” (James 1:19 NIV).
6) Don’t be afraid to be the complete opposite of what your culture is telling you to be, and know who you are in the L-rd.
7) Pray for the people who are stubborn about believing that your culture is “Wrong.”
8) If they are willing, open your world to the ones who want to see it. One thing that my mom does is she brings in Jewish treats to the teachers lounge whenever there is a Jewish holiday (Hamantashen for Purim, matzah crunch for Passover, donuts for Hanukkah, etc.).
9) Have fun with being the odd ball! Sometimes I talk in complete sentences in Hebrew; I get some funny looks but what’s new? Every paper I turn in has something to do with Jewish culture (well almost, I have trouble doing that when it comes to writing lab reports), and most emails that I have to send to teachers have at least a shalom at the end.
10) Be a friend to all. You never know who is in need of a friend until you are one.