Thursday, March 09, 2006

How are your shoes?

Tonight, I watched the new reality television show, Black. White. FX advertises their television shows so heavily that I was almost sick of hearing about it, but I really wanted to watch this. Bridging differences is a big component of who I am, and I feel that is only possible through developing an understanding of what another person experiences.

Stepping into another person's shoes is really a fascinating idea, and I wish that it was something we all had an opportunity to do. I think that's one of the reasons that reading and writing appeal to me so. I've sampled other lives and times through books, and that broadened both my heart and mind. In writing, I get to share the reality of my life. That has helped me to find how much in common very dissimilar people can have, and it helped me appreciate the uniqueness of me.

Seeing Black. White. and other shows like 30 Days and Wife Swap has made me think about what other shoes I would like to try on. Even though this shows the depths of my vanity and my obsession, I'd first love to wear a skinny woman's shoes. I'd like to see if I could wrap my mind around a right wing Republican's thought processes. I'd like to see what it's like to be black, to be a man, to be a Muslim, a Jew, a Pagan or other minority religion in contemporary America, to be an heiress, to be famous, to have an easily accessible confidence instead of one for which I have to fight, to be openly homosexual. I'd want to sample minority and majority experiences. I'd like to see how geography, outside of the South, shapes a person. I'd like to be truly urban for awhile. I'd like to know what it's like to not speak the common language. I'd like to see what someone thought about wearing my shoes.

I know that I won't have these opportunities, but I will always wonder what it's like to be other than myself. I'd like to see if reality is just a collective hunch. I'd like to know if it's true that the most personal experiences really are the most universal. Differences are all too easy to see, and I want to have the eyes that can see our commonalities. I want to have the courage to speak my truth. I want to have the tact to do so without causing people to shut down and reject what I want to say.

These are big goals, big enough to be a little scary when I see them written down, but it's definitely something to shoot for.


Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I saw the ads for that show, and it looked fascinating. I read "Black Like Me" a million years ago...wondered if the participants' experiences would be similar to the book.

March 09, 2006 9:16 AM  
Blogger Nelle said...

I have put myself into a few situations where I am the different one. It's interesting. I remember reading a book in high school called "Black Like Me" where a white man passed himself off as black and wrote of his experience. Very interesting and reminds me of the psychological children's experience of the blue eyes vs. brown eyes.
I wish the skinny girls would have to experience being heavy for a day.

March 10, 2006 6:08 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I missed Black and White the other night but have been wanting to see it.

Yours is a vision of empathy. Just trying to imagine how others feel puts you head and shoulders above most others.

My Blog

March 11, 2006 1:36 PM  

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