“The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, its those who win battles we know nothing about.”
He was elderly, rode an electric shopping cart and eyed me suspiciously. I saw him glance at me several times and ignored them; thinking perhaps the antics of 4 kids pretending to be riding a train complete with choo choo sounds and a conductor were alarming to him.
He nudged my cart and I first thought it was an accident. Then in a different aisle it happened again and I thought perhaps he needed help getting an item so I smiled and politely asked if he needed some help. He ignored my question but I chalked it up to him not hearing me. Then it happened again and finally he was behind me in the checkout lane. I thought, what a coincidence- was he following me? Then as I got ready to pay he spoke, in a very grisly tone, “where you from?” Initially I stated the city I live in, then he repeated his question, “no I mean where you really from?” This time I said America and then he loudly asked again, “Where your family from?” I knew what he was thinking and suddenly the entire interaction I had with him during my grocery shopping trip made sense. I said, “Actually I was born and raised in Guyana, it’s a South American country” A half smile broke and he said, “oh so you not one of those….you not from those countries?” I said no and left
On the way back home, I thought of it and what I wish I had the time to say is this:
Sir, I am not one of those because:
– I nor my children have ever lived through war and while racism and discrimination are worldwide theoretical concepts and universal phenomena, they do not turn our daily lives into a warzone.
– I don’t know the plight women endure in those countries every minute of their lives
– Adequate food supply has never been as issue to us
– We have never suffered for lack of proper medical care
– My children have access to free education if we choose
– The only thing I have ever witnessed appear out of the nights sky are stars
– Drones have a whole different meaning to me and my children…they are a really expensive remote control helicopter like “toy” to them.
– I have never walked for miles hoping to escape the place I call home
– I don’t know the difficult decisions and emotions that ensues when parents have no choice but to send their children elsewhere, separating themselves from them solely because they want to give them a chance to live.
Those are really just a few of the things I wish I had time to express and those are the real reasons I’m not one of those. Our geographic backgrounds do not differentiate us, we are a part of one sisterhood.”Different” only because in spite of the extremity of their circumstances; their will to persevere and their courage to carry on and maintain any semblance of normalcy and dignity is admirable beyond words.