sTeReOtYpEs

Do you ever notice that notice that who look like each other are often friends with each other? No matter where you go Aclose friends will often times have similar occupation, world views, social class, and maybe even dress like each other.

I understand why people do this. We find comfort in spending time with others who are just like us. We relate to each other. This is great. I don’t have many close friends but those friends that I do have act just like me. As much as I love spending time with others who have similar views on things as religion, ethics, and politics, I can’t do that all the time.

In my journey of self educating myself, I have noticed some pattern`s between people who always had the same friends who were just like them. The danger that lies in having friends that are not diversified  that too often occurs called stereotypes.

STEREOTYPES ARE DANGEROUS! Often times stereotypes are far different then what they appear to be. One example, out of many examples that I have of how a stereotype was rebuked for me, was when I was very young. Now my parents sheltered me to a degree. They didn’t shelter me as in trying to not expose me to the “evils of the world” but they sheltered me by not always telling me what the typical stereotype of how the world sees certain groups of people. When I was very young, I was lucky to serve others who had disbilities. Through that I quickly learned that those with disabilities are not any less of a person because their body works differently than mine. By having the opportunity to serve those different than me it really has changed my perception on stereotypes.

I argue that if you don’t expose yourself to those in different cultures you will have more biases towards others. Building relationships with the weird, lost, broken, and different will give you a  deeper love for others. In the book of Matthew it says that the greatest commandment of all is to love the Lord and the second is to love others. If you are doing well with the first one, you most certainly will be succeeding at the second one. God doesn’t put limits on who to love. He just says to love others. By building relationships and serving everyone, you will be following exactly what His law says.

You may be thinking “this is great, but how do I find diversified people?” The answer to this is easy — just look around! Become involved in your community and get to know others. Go to coffee shops and at about any coffee shop there’s going to be a cork board advertising different cultural events in your community, read the newspaper and be on the look out for upcoming events and classes, volunteer at places you wouldn’t normally go, ask everyone what their stories are, and anywhere you are ask questions.

If done in a biblical way, the Kingdom will be expanded and you will become a more well rounded person. Don’t think of new friends by labeling them as the world labels them. Think of them as being a child of God whom you can minister to, and most importantly be a light to others in a world of utter darkness.

Dear Teacher, Please Let Me Be Creative

Adult coloring books are “the thing” right now. For Chanukah my mother gave me one of these. Now my mother NEVER let me have a coloring book growing up and so this was the first one I have ever owned.

Because I have “learning disabilities” my brain simply gets tired faster then most other people’s brain. I decided to bring my coloring book to school this week for something to do when I have study halls and when my brain needs a break. For an entire school week now, I have colored in my book at various times for long and short periods of time and I have yet to complete one page!

On Monday when I was coloring a memory from junior high haunted me. One day in junior high I was in my study hall, and that particular day the teachers had “overdosed my brain on information.” My brain was tired and I could not focus on school work and I pulled out my loved sketch book. After only a few moments of sketching, the teacher supervising me noticed. When the teacher noticed, they “suggested”/ told me to work on something profitable. This disturbed me emotionally. I put away my sketch book and pretended to study for an upcoming test while trying to hide my tears.

Now to most people this doesn’t sound like a big deal. However, to me it was. I felt punished for my brain not having the compacity of my peers. I pretty much wasted the entire class period because I was staring at my book being too upset to study.

Telling a student to put their sketch book away isn’t a big deal; however, to a dyslexic student it is so much more. Generally, people who have dxylixia are creative. Therefore, we need a creative outlet when our brains cannot handle academics. I’m not a trouble maker at school but I do need to use my creativity in different forms every once in awhile. I am a musician, writer, and artist and I use these forms of art to relax and distract myself from the world. It’s no wonder why I need to occupy some of these elements during school.

Dear Teacher, please let me draw during free time. My brain functions different then yours. I cannot be fed information for seven hours a day and be expected obtain what you have taught me. There comes a point when I cannot soak in what you are teaching me. My belly gets full when I am fed; my brain does the same thing. Please let me be creative and encourage me to pursue my creative outlets during the little bit of free time that you give us. Yes, my grades probably suck but studying when I’m “studied out” will not do any good for me. I do not draw during class, I do not work on Lama-Leah during class, I don’t write poetry or short stories during class, I study and listen to you during class. However, during my study halls or free time, I sometimes simply just need a break. What is so bad about that?
~Lama-Leah

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Fall Leaves

Fall, a season for hoodies, pumpkin spice lattes, and leaves falling under the trees. There is a definite change in the atmosphere, fashion, and appearance of nature.  Besides pumpkin spice lattes, the colors and variety of leaves is my favorite thing about this season. As an artist, I love noticing variation in colors of leaves.

Today was the first day I noticed a definite change in the leaves. Some are brown, orange, red, or yellow. All of the leaves are different but have similarities. Just as a leaf falling from a tree never lands in the exact same place, in life people never “land” in the same place. In life it’s easy to compare one person’s path to another. We all blossom at different times. Just as you can’t compare how one leaf has changed in its color, texture, and size, you can’t really compare yourself to others about how they are growing spiritually, thriving in the workforce, or walking on paths that you wish you could have walked.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to talk to a man who has written a book on following your dreams. He asked me what my dream is. I was reluctant to tell him because I haven’t really gotten many good responses when I tell others what my dream is. After a little convincing, I finally told him that my dream is to be an artist someday. He gave me some advice that I have been pondering since then. He told me that sometimes when you try to follow your dreams it isn’t always your time to pursue them. He told me that the important thing is to continue to follow them after you have grown. That was encouraging because even though I would love to be a professional artist now, it may not be my time to be one. I might have to wait a long time, or it may never happen. But that won’t stop me from doing and enjoying art. I cannot compare where my leaf is falling compared to other’s leaf because G-d has a specific plan for everyone’s life.

At times I have been angry at G-d for allowing me to go through certain things. Many times I have questioned Him during enduring trials, but I am starting to see how it has all been an a part of His plan for my life. I am slowly learning that without my experience, heartache, and at times misery, I would not be able to connect with others the way I can through the trials. This blog would be very different without them because I would be a lot more close minded and unable to write with empathy towards my readers. Lama-Leah is just a small way that I’m able to use my long journey in beautiful ways.

In conclusion, each leaf is beautiful in their own way, they all land in completely different places, so don’t try to emulate somebody else’s landing speed.

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The Little Girls Selling Lemonade

I made it to the weekend! The week has been enormously better than the one before. As many of my readers know, my top career choice at the moment it to be a artist. My parents have exposed me to many aspects of fine arts from an early age, and to them it shouldn’t be an surprise that I want to pursue art for a living. Unfortunately, many in my life compare my artistic ability to those in my family and have suggested that I do something else with my life.

Just over the summer someone asked me what I want to do after high school and I said that I want to be an artist and they told me, “You need to choose something that you wouldn’t mind doing and makes money.” I have been told many, many things, comparable to the phrase just stated.

Today I went to the art museum with a few others. Through different parts of the muesum someone in my group was mocking the fact that I am going to be a professional artist someday. It was upsetting to me but I have received so much disapproval that I have learned just to brush it off. I told my mother what they were saying and she said just what I needed to here. She said, “Well, you just have to prove them wrong.” And I know that I do because if I actually listened to what almost everyone has told me, I’d just let them win. Awhile ago I was telling a friend how many, many, many don’t believe that I can make it in the art industry and they pointed out that several world renown artists parents didn’t want their child to be an artist and they ended up being extremely successful. Another friend told me that Van Gogh himself was not very successful for a very long time and look where his art is now!

When I came home a little neighbor girl and her friend were selling lemonade. I chose to be a good neighbor and I walked over to support their little business. I asked them what they are going to do with the money and they told me that they want to go roller skating. This was encouraging to me because they didn’t let someone just tell them “No.” They were working to do what they wanted to do. Just the way that I have to work having little support from family and friends. Eventually the person who was mocking me apologized. They said, “I am sorry I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” I said, “I accept your apology, but you have to careful what you say to me because someday I may paint you.”

Just like I have to do, don’t let others tell you not to follow your dreams because when you do, you are letting what they are telling you tear you down. You have no idea how impacted your goal may be if you don’t even try. “Fears kill more dreams then failures.” So go be the little girls selling lemonade, who took steps in order to do what they wanted to do.

Also remember, when someone has lemons support their lemonade stand.

P.S. I have added a virtual art gallery to this website. Feel free to check it out. If you have any art ideas for me, leave me a comment, or if you have a suggestion for a topic, do the same. https://lamaleah.wordpress.com/virtual-art-gallery-by-lama-leah/

Life is About Collecting Memories, Not Collecting Things

Blessed one word to describe my life. Yes, I have had hard times, times of trials, and times of hardship, but those whom G-d has placed in my life has always been a blessing to me. Because my parents chose to home school me in elementary school I have had hundreds of experiences that my peers now have never had the opportunity to do. Lots of art classes, attending jazz concerts during the typical lunch hour, dissecting a shark, cows heart, fetal pig, and part of a cat just to name a few memories that I have made.

I am in denial that I am approaching the last season of high school; over the past several days I have reflected on some of the good memories. The more I reflect on some of the best memories I have are the memories that were made when I was experiencing new things, not sitting at home and watching T.V. (or the mind sucking box as I call it). The days of volunteering with HUMANA, harvesting grapes at the local winery, and cleaning the building at a local dog show are what I will cherish throughout my life times.

As a culture, especially around Chanukah or Christmas, most in America are consumed with not necessarily the “reason for the season” but with “getting” gifts.” Yes, it is cool to get the latest iPad, but when you are on your death-bed what will you want to remember – all of the fun things you did or days spent on ending playing on your iPad? Just a few thoughts for your Tuesday.

I encourage you to think about this and ways in your personal life you have focused more on items that can be broken, rather than memories that can never leave the heart.