I remember it vividly. Sitting in my scratchy chair, legs curled up under me subconsciously avoiding the pending bombshell that was about to come down. I absolutely did not know that I was about to get much more uncomfortable.
I was already in a soul searching head space due to a bizarre bullying situation I was finding myself in, but the news that flashed on the screen hit me hard. The world’s fearless anti-oppression activist that bravely fought to liberate a nation from apartheid, had passed away. I sat with my searching and my unexpected tears thinking, who will carry on his message? Nelson Mandela was gone.
My mind was racing, from Africa’s loss, to B.C.’s growing racial problems, to the rampant social inequalities that are being reported around the globe. In an effort to appease my mind, I pulled out a white board, a red marker, some cheesies (oh, now I have your attention), and with a fevered urgency I started mind mapping my thoughts. I think I may have gone a little mad, but something was churning inside me like it never had before. After countless hours, and a couple of restless days, my map blurted out this: ACCEPT ME.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
In a very scary, yet insightful way, I began to realize my map was divulging deeply buried truths regarding my own part in marginalization and discrimination, and it was beyond humbling. I learned more about myself in those two days than any therapist could have ever uncovered. What I began to understand, and now believe, is that acceptance is not just something that happens; it is a lifelong choice that requires one to be consistent and constant in their practice of compassion and empathy.
I realized after exposing my beliefs and truths, that they were guiding me towards something. Like stars, my random thoughts started to take on a powerful, beautiful shape when I started connecting them; and the more connections I made, the clearer and more profound the message became. ACCEPT ME was not just something for me to learn, but for me to share. It was clarity and purpose and honouring Mr. Mandela’s legacy combined. So now, with purposeful fevered urgency, I began to plant the seeds of the Accept Me movement. I designed a logo that depicts a person breaking through the barriers of marginalization, and I steeped my ideas until they concentrated into these four tenets:
WHO I AM
HOW I LOOK
WHOM I LOVE
WHAT I BELIEVE
I then chose the fashion industry to promote my message; branding t shirts, bags and jewelry with Accept Me’s logo. In a world where we attribute supporting something to simply clicking ‘like’ on our screens, I believe that physically wearing your beliefs is a more committed and concrete way of saying “Yes, I support this”.
I hope you feel the same.
Be brave, wear your statement.
Read the story, as featured on Spirituality for Reality.