I have a facebook friend who is constantly posting pictures of her very unusual baby. The child’s eyes are larger than most and she breathes through a tube in her neck, clearly because she has trouble breathing on her own. Before I knew what was going on, I’d often wonder why, when the child was probably uncomfortable all the time, would her mother keep posting these pictures. Why, when she knew how judgmental, thoughtless and cruel people might be, she would expose her child to that. One day, she made us all understand.
The mother wrote an open letter about how she and her husband discovered that their child had a rare condition, how doctors said she would only have a few short years to live, and how they decided that every day they spent with her would be precious. She sees her baby as extra special delicious and phenomenal, and everyone needed to know that.
Here, we talk about Caribbean issues. There, we see beauty in the country landscapes and whatever beaches remain pristine. But through our own eyes, I question how much we see it in ourselves.
Photographer David Muir refers to an image he loves called Beauty Shop where the woman in the shop didn’t want her picture taken because in her own eyes “she neva pretty.” She had very African features – a broad nose, dark skin, and a short afro. The picture came out gorgeous.
But she had likely been told all her life – “laad you black eeh? How you nose so big? How you hair so tough?”
It becomes a shock when extraordinarily successful people explain that they didn’t get where they were going because someone else believed they could, they got there because they believed they could. Their own eyes saw their own potential and that’s what they focused on. Not the out-of-focus, can’t-do attitude of those around them.
In this week’s perspective I’ll discuss choosing to find beauty in ourselves and how much more important that is than looking for approval from the folks outside.
To watch the extended perspective and much more on Caribbean America, set your DVR or tune in to each Sunday’s episode of The Caribbean Diaspora Weekly on SFL / The CW Network (Ch 39 / Comcast 11). Catch replays on the website at www.thecaribbeandiaspora.tv. Calibe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.