So, I’m in Austin, Texas, taking it all in, denying any previous love for Philly and I can’t help but think how special this feeling is, this feeling of awe and wonder that has been lost on me from years of wandering the same Philadelphia streets.
While downtown, I decided to stop at a bar, The Market, with my sister and I felt myself adjust to my education. While at the bar, the bartender serves my sister, I’m standing next to her and imagine, he will serve me next… No, he won’t. He looks over me and serves the person next to me, even though I’m directly in front of him, looking him in the face. I eventually get my drink and move upstairs. A while later, I decide to get another drink from the bar on the roof. I walk to the bar, where there are three bar employees working and no customers being served. The staff are talking and laughing, so I walk up and look the closest staff in the face, so they know I’m here for a drink, pull out my wallet, etc… You know, the usual. And she sees me, looks at me, the only person at the bar and continues talking with the other staff… And I continue to look at her and she continues to talk and finally, she takes my order.
It’s important to note that don’t typically like going to super mainstream, heteronormative bars, it’s not my thing, I’ve had bad experiences as a nonwhite homosexual. And in these moments, I realized that I was almost conditioned to become upset, to internalize the situation and hate the city all together, but then I remembered, their behavior has nothing to do with me (an idea I often give myself lessons on). Let’s say they did intentionally over look and ignore me, that has everything to do with who they are and if I’m going to get upset for every person that exhibits rude behavior, I’ll be upset every second of my life… And I let it go without running it through my head over and over again and it was the most liberating feeling. I didn’t realize how much I internalized other people’s behavior toward me until I stopped.
I know this probably seems so small, but it’s huge and it feels great. And I hope everyone knows that if you have behavior or ways of thinking that you would like to change… You can! It takes time and persistence,but you can do it.
I recently read, in a ramdass.org article…
“If I am angry with you because your behavior doesn’t fill my model of how you should be, that’s my problem for having models. No expectations, no upset.”
And… It’s true.
I’d also like to note that internalizing these situations and running from them only furthers the divide. After my incidents, which by the way are one thing to read someone describe in an article and a completely different thing to experience over nd over, I read an article about diversity in Austin and how the “African American” community is slowly leaving the city, because they feel they lack visibility. And I ask myself about this, because if when you enter the professional level of almost any career, the center of almost every city, the heights that you would like to reach, you will be surrounded by white people and you may notice bias that they don’t know they have, you may feel invisible often, but what will you do about it?
And being gay
an undocumented citizen
whatever you are, what are you going to do? How will triumph these obstacles while still having your integrity and without internalizing?