I am a petite, curvy, olive-skinned brunette in the land of the tall, skinny, fair skinned California blonde. And that is just the women. The men are often square-jawed, tall, confident, and athletic. It is the kind of regal, effortless attractiveness they did nothing to earn. I was born and raised in New York, where I feel at home amidst the world weary throngs of the hard working melting pot. In New York, merit is measured through the fruits of your labor. Here it is a birthright.
|Circa 1950, Stan Galli|
Nineteen years of living in Miami did help to eradicate a fair amount of the neuroses I accumulated from growing up in New York. I was blessed to live near the Atlantic Ocean and often submerged myself in its’ warm aquamarine waters, cleansing away the stresses of the day. I left behind the gray urban landscape and embraced bright color, café con leche, and full moon drum circles on the beach.
Again, a new world opens before me since relocating over a year and a half ago to California. It is not just the topography of rolling hills and striking coastal views, though. This is far more subtle. It is an opportunity to leave behind the last bits of struggle, no matter how persistent they appear to be. Yet, I cannot claim to have mastery over a lifetime of indoctrination in the paradigm of limitation. Am I required to believe the worldview that most people never question? What we view on our televisions and computers enforce this belief at us at every turn. I’m not talking about ignoring the endless injustices in the world and living in some rainbow-colored intergalactic fantasy. This is about realizing that we cannot wait for the world to change. We must choose a new way, not just by embracing it philosophically, but by confronting our inner demons determined to undermine any progress of the soul.
Allow me to explain. Confronting ones’ demons does not imply a life and death struggle. It simply means, looking at ones’ limiting beliefs squarely in the eye, and remaining as quiet observer. This sounds simple, but in fact it is one of the hardest things to do. The mind wants to barge into our silence and remind us to be afraid, sad, angry, etc.
Here in the land of the California blonde, I can sometimes feel like a foreigner from an alien planet. Yet I also know that I am creating a new reality. It is subtle and expansive and yet, like earthquake prone California, there are sudden and unexpected jolts that call me out of complacency.
I have to go now. . . it is my turn in the queue where yet another tall, perfect, California blonde stands ready to take my coffee order.