Accepting Those Yearning to be Free

This past week, just a few days before the reopening of the torch, I visited Liberty Island and Ellis Island in New York harbor. The shear number of people who were making the same trip was pretty amazing. Seeing folks from all over the world who, like me, wanted to be where, the foundation of our freedom, reigns supreme. It is here you see the true meaning of melting pot — folks of all races, ethnicity and shapes and sizes were there. It is here that our country accepted those who wanted more for their life and we, as a country, were willing to accept those for who they were and what they had to offer.

Unfortunately, we, as a country, do not always follow the lessons taught on Ellis Island and we find that some folks still aren’t as accepting of all who are “yearing to be free”. Size issues still are prevelant in our country and those of us, who are bigger than average, aren’t always afforded the same “given rights” as those who fit within the average size standards. While I felt that I was in a place where I wouldn’t be judged or spoken of, I still found myself being looked at, talked about and pointed out as being “different”. I realize that, culturally, there are some areas of the world who revere large bodies or don’t see them often. I can forgive the Asian women who approached me and, in their non-English way, made it clear that they needed their picture taken with me. I understood the relevance in capturing my appearance for the folks back home — I’m not sure their words would not be able to explain my size better than a picture….so I politely posed — giving a smile and a nod of acceptance as they showed me our image in their pixel display.

My real beef is with Americans and “average” folks who just can’t seem to accept there are others who are different from “their kind” . These are the average sized folks who snear and glare and treat you as if you were invisible (with their louder than average comments and lengthily looks). It amazes me that, not only do they observe and openly comment about my being fat, but they also think I’m deaf and unable to hear their less than complimentary comments.

We are all on the planet…journeying together….and entitled to the same freedoms and choices that this great country has to offer. During this journey, it would be so nice if all of us could display a bit more acceptance and tolerate those differences that may not necessarily be a part of our daily routine. Just as Lady Liberty extended her hand to those who were looking for something better, we, too, should lean toward accepting those who are beyond our social and ethic status.

Teach tolerance to your young, be a bit more accepting of those who are not like you, be kinder and show more compassion to others. While our outer appearance is changing (unbeknown to others) and we appear to be “different” to others and we still experience those darts of disparaging remarks — try to display compassion and acceptance of your own. It’s not to say that we, as fat folks, should be walked over, but we need to teach our own lesson of acceptance by accepting those who have never walked in our shoes and will never “get it”. By our actions, perhaps it will help them better accept those who do not (appearance wise) look like them and will give them a higher level of understanding our path of “yearning to be free”. It’s a good lesson this fourth of July.



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