First Impressions Are Often A Dishonor Of Self
I realize as I look at the picture of that car from today that at first I found it utterly ridiculous; however, as we got out and examined the moving (or at least what I assume can still move) art more closely I found parts I found repulsive, other parts mind boggling, and still other parts completely amazing. The more I looked through the lens, the more I didn’t want to stop questioning. Who drives it? What possessed them to do this to their vehicle?
While I could/would never even be caught DEAD in a vehicle like this, let alone alive – even as a passenger – I can step outside of my first thoughts and appreciate the time/care/dedication it took the artist to create and design. There’s no way for you and I to know how the person who drives this feels about it on a daily basis, or how they cope with the constant belittling of “friends” who want to make fun of the things that they love and make them happy — or if they even keep such friends around. Its not my job to decide what may or may not make a person happy. Its not my job to tell them what they can and cannot do if it has no negative impact on my life. Thats the beauty of living in a country who has not yet lost her freedom. We have crazy cars with all sorts of crazy things on them. We have crazy girls with all sorts of crazy things glued to them. We have people of all shapes, sizes, colors, with or without tattoos, ink, or piercings…
Does having all of this extra stuff make this car less pleasant to look at? For some, yes. Does it have much effect on the purpose of the vehicle? Well, it looks like it can still drive. It can still hold passengers… I’m again making the assumption that it is a moving vehicle… so yes, this car can still provide value to the lives of its owners. And I’m also going to say that compared to every other vehicle on the road that is painted standard colors it provides more than just a way to move people and things from one place to another. It provides those around it another avenue to stop and:
Be confused by.
Like this car, I too have many things that have been added to me to modify my own look. I’m not standard. I’m not just going to get on lifes road and drive beside you unnoticed. I’m going to stop and make you think. I’m going to take the time to learn who you already are and what you already believe, and then challenge you to challenge yourself by letting you consider your own thoughts, views, and values and pushing your own boundaries.
It is far-too common place for the generations before mine to see a tattoo and immediately disregard a persons intelligence. Many times as people who have talked to me have confessed that I am nothing like I appear to be. Ink does not have any effect on a person’s IQ. Being pierced may not be something you would like to do, and while people do not understand why I would voluntarily subject myself to both the pain of a needle punching through my skin and the subsequent humiliation, as they see it, of wearing a noticeable piece of metal in that wound, I do not see it that way.
When you see somebody who looks different than you, from the color of their skin – or colors of their ink, to their hair, their shoes, their clothes… why are you looking at their outward appearance and making a judgement about who they are without actually taking the time to discover if you are correct? Certainly do not talk to every person you find intimidating, scary, or different — because that initial instinct can be correct — but it isn’t always. Just be open to possibilities.
When you find yours thoughts of anothers physical appearance causing you to judge them — can you recognize that this person has no effect on you, or your life? Do they deserve your judgement? Can they see the disapproving look on your face?
When my four-year old was two she decided to wear bright orange pants and a dark purple T-Shirt I attempted to make her change before we left the house. I could see her heart break as she had been so proud to carefully choose her favorite pants AND her favorite shirt to wear them both at the same time. As I explained that her choices were terrible together the tears welled up in her eyes. At that moment, I realized that what she was wearing was not that important if it made her happy, and isn’t going to cause any harm. She was proud of her decision and I nearly took that moment away from her due to my own judgement based on what I had let society teach me.
Like this car, I may not be something you want to see or look at everyday – or be caught dead driving around with, but I serve my purpose and I serve it well. Is this car as great as a Porsche? Yes – but only if you have the eyes and heart that are willing to see it. To look at me and disregard me immediately is like denying yourself the opportunity to help ensure that the infamous dream of MLK had of not being judged by first impression, but rather by content of character. To make his dream a reality, we must all be seen as equal, and we must all seek to see equally.